Holy Matrimony (Anniversary in Colonial Williamsburg)

Roger Mitchell

Watch the cooper resume
his old manufacture,
how the hollowing knife
will carve perfect volume
from imperfect nature.
So we two, man and wife,
embraced like oaken staves,
these golden rings our hoops,
this common life our cask,
have joined our tapered selves.
From us, clerkish time scoops
his purchase. You might ask
what our maker meant,
what profit would he earn
working with such rough woods,
as if, after a stint,
he might hope to return
and find us full of goods.
We form a paradox:
open to deliver
yet tight enough to hold,
an enclosure whose locks
free all who would enter,
though bound by bands of gold.