Who Do They Think I Am?

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: incredibly gorgeous images from here:Proposals by Cecilia Woloch

Mistaking me for someone else,
he asked me to marry him. This has
happened more than once. The first time,
I was eighteen and the boy had
a diamond ring in a box.
It was the Fourth of July,
it was dark, he said, Happy
Independence Day. Of course,
the ring was too large and
slipped right off my finger
into the grass.
(It belonged to someone else:
the woman he married, eventually.)

And when I was twenty-one, that redhead,
sloe-eyed and slinking out of his grief,
said he'd imagined I'd be his wife. But he was
mistaken. It wasn't me.
Then a drunk who drove too fast,
who threw the proposal over his shoulder
like some glittering, tattered scarf.
I staggered out of his car, saying,
No thanks, No thanks, No thanks.

And the man over eggs one morning,
in the midst of an argument, saying
he planned to wait for spring to
ask for my hand, then he never asked.

(So of course, I married
that one for a while; spent years convincing him
I was not his cup of coffee, not his girl.)

And in Prague, on a bridge called the
Karluv Most, a stranger, a refugee,
who mistook the way I stared at the
river for thinking of suicide.
Who mistook my American passport
for his ticket out of there.

And others-the man whose children
grabbed the food off my plate, called me
her; the man in Chartres Cathedral
humming the wedding march into my
ear. And tonight, at dinner with friends,
happy, discussing their wedding
plans, a man I've known for a couple of hours
turning to ask me to marry him.

I don't know who they think I am.
Do I look like a bride in these rags
of wind?
Do I look like the angel of home and hearth
with this strange green
fire in my hands?

{from writersalmanac.org dec. 30, 2008}


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