RSVP by mervyn taylor.

for Fatisha

I went to the wedding, late as usual,
I walked with my gift in my hand.
I talked to a man who was leaving
who was the leader of the band.

He said, you just getting here?
He took me to one side,
you should have heard us jam,
he said, you shoulda seen the bride.

I shoulda seen the way she held
her head, and tossed the bouquet too,
and her garter when the groom reached
for it, true, the clarinet man whispered, true.

I walked into the hall
confetti and ribbon all around,
I imagined I heard the guests talking
and the rustle of a bridesmaid’s gown.

I heard the speechmaker
wish them long life, joy on the way.
Then I heard the tinkle of glasses
and someone say, play, maestro, play.

I looked for someone to dance with,
there was a girl from the catering crew.
She said you’re late, there’s no music
but come on, I’ll dance with you.

So I danced the dance of latecomers,
guessing the name of the song.
She held her tray in one hand and
I la-la’ed, as she hummed along.

They made a beautiful couple, she said,
she was a lovely bride.
Her dress was peau de soir and lace
and her hair was combed to the side.

You’re lovely too, I thanked her,
and she smiled, her eyes wide.
She shook her head, you think I’m pretty,
you should’ve seen the bride.

So I helped her pick up things
and stopped lamenting being late.
I should have seen the bride, I know
but who knows about fate?


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