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Sudden Appearance of a Bride Not to Be

Freezing December rain, 6:00 Ante Mediem –
I drive a baby-blue 1969 VW Beetle,
Washburn Street, West Scranton,
am late for work on Roadway Express dock.
No parking spaces available at Mastrucci's store,
I double-park, VW idles unsteadily in-neutral,
casual store entry, coffee into styrofoam cup,
old Mastrucci has The New York Times ready,
it's 1979, Red Army engaged in Afghanistan.
I hand Mastrucci $1.50, turn to depart,
& a woman appears in wedding dress,
she's certain I am the one who jilted her
many years ago, at Saint Lucille's altar.
Angry, she lashes out,
curses me for hurting her so.
I hurried to VW, exhaust smoke ascent,
Scranton fog like choreographed incense.
She follows outdoors, threatens harm,
rain soaks beautiful white-gown, it still fits,
Mastrucci said later, “this happens once a year,
Chuck, it's her wedding anniversary that really ain't.”
Today, I'm scared –
that frantic face impaled upon VW window.
Poor woman, yellowish-veil drenched, perm no more,
she screamed, “Richie, I never wanted you to leave!”
1st gear would not engage,
nervous left-foot pumped clutch, a Local 229 Teamster,
fragile, I went to work in honeymoon Poconos,
bride stranded on Main Street, fist disappeared in rear-view,
no empty cans tied to Beetle's bumper, cold rain fell,
no fallen rice, fearful, wedded to I-80 East black-ice,
down & out Saint Lucille had no dowry for me...,
why should that be?


Charles Orloski

The poem reflects an actual experience while going to work, Winter 1979. Orloski figures its good, every now & then, for people to glimpse ordinary marital-breakups which contrast to glitz Hollywood affairs, gone to hell, and become a model justifying America's divorce from one another.

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