The veil

shall be lifted – nevermore!
Forever the bride

on cusp of matrimony
caught in nervous pause

before “I do”
when love’s confidence

crashes headlong
with reality’s fear.

Promises of happiness
and better times –

empty as the local reservoir
returned to desert lake bed –

expose Groom as mirage
bolting when asked to follow through,

to do something, anything,
about his unruly children

who transgress against mother
earth and fight amongst each other.

I want faith, I want to say: yes,
I will be forever yours.

I want to lift the veil
and kiss the eternal

but I fear this would only exchange
wedding veil for mourning veil.

To embrace love and hope too bitter
to endure should they prove powerless.

So I take refuge
in perpetual hesitation –

or do I cower
in mind’s panic room? –

never more to return
to what once was,

never more to push on
to what could be.


Note: The first line of this poem (italicized above) is the final line of the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.

©2023 Kenneth W. Arthur