In A Marriage Certificate

Deep in the cotton petals of a watermark
I see my father stacking sheets of plywood,

his hands freckled with sawdust, his silvery
white skin flickering in the sun, my mother

standing beside him, measuring each plank
of wood, her eyes like blackberries floating

in a pool of milk. She says, 'There's something
wrong, ' and fog settles like an argument.

A Coca-Cola bottle sweats on the picnic table,
the petals of pansies curl into tight yellow fists,

and my parents stand there, like boards that won't
fit, like two splintered edges refusing to meet.


-from Tar River Poetry

by Chris Tusa

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