by Jane Ellen Glasser (Lighthouse Pt., FL)
for my daughter on her 16th wedding anniversary
I would never have thought sixteen years
a sweet anniversary, a rejuvenation of love.
That was the year your father and I divorced.
I was confused as a child watching Mother pour
sugar on seasoned meat. Like her marriage,
I knew some things didn’t belong together.
I have watched you and your husband
navigate differences, repair cracks and leaks
with the plug of sweet acceptance.
After the meat was browned with onions,
after the cup of sugar, Mother added in sour salt
before simmering the meal stove-top for hours.
What I didn’t learn from my parents or my own failed
marriage, you have mastered: love’s work
takes opposites, sweet needing sour to grow a marriage.
When the meat was tender, Mother
thickened the sauce with ginger snaps.
No one made a more savory brisket.
Just days ago, you hosted family and friends for a seder
on heirloom china. You served brisket and a recipe
for a loving marriage to pass down to your children.
Jane Ellen Glasser’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Hudson Review, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Georgia Review. In the past she reviewed poetry books for the Virginian-Pilot, edited poetry for the Ghent Quarterly and Lady Jane’s Miscellany, and co-founded the nonprofit arts organization and journal New Virginia Review. She won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry 2005 for Light Persists and The Long Life won the Poetica Publishing Company Chapbook Contest in 2011. Her seventh poetry collection, In the Shadow of Paradise, appeared from FutureCycle Press in 2017. Her work may be previewed on her website: www.janeellenglasser.com