They met where the south marched north,
where crosses sullenly blaze
and men shoot guns.
We drove in silent marvel down roads
where pigs mutter in front yards
and dead deer hang from the trees.
We were to turn at the town store, easy to miss,
disguised as post office and gas station.
The light was almost out of the day
when we finally found the church.
The glossy brown oak leaves
drained somber like the sky.
The children were any of us at nineteen:
shining and all lit up with hope.
The ceremony was a young girl’s novella,
red lace and candles.
A music tape shrilled as one after the other
the red lace maids went on display,
hair wound in curls, gowns gleaming.
Tears tripped from the eyes
of the women, all mothers.
Boys, slicked and bursting
from their coat sleeves,
nudged each other and shifted their weight.
At the very end, the minister
admonished and the public hugged.
The little room hushed, lamps dimmed
and the giant glass cross at the front,
twinkling, turned on.