Late-Season Outdoor Wedding

by Chelsea B. DesAutels

Featured Art: “Panel No. 1” (Leaning on a Parapet) by Georges Seurat


The night before, we’d eaten fried walleye

with tartar sauce in a big white tent and passed

the quaich filled with Irish whiskey to our loved ones

who sipped and said blessings. There was music.

You played guitar. I went to bed early, happy.

You joined me later, happy. The next morning,

we woke to snow and gray skies. All morning long,

I cried and heaved and my mother and bridesmaids

whispered, afraid I was having my doubts. I wasn’t.

I was rupturing—a violent fissure between

my wanting to be good at loving and wanting

everything, like a river island suddenly shorn

from the bank and flooded by ice melt. Over my dress,

I wore a fur stole that I’d found two summers earlier

in a roadside antique store. We’d been road-tripping

through the northwoods, you behind the wheel,

me gazing out the window at Lake Superior, a body

displaced by thousands of shipwrecks.


Chelsea B. DesAutels’s work appears or is forthcoming in PloughsharesMissouri Review, Copper Nickel, Massachusetts Review, Adroit JournalPleiades, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. Natasha Trethewey named Chelsea’s manuscript, Metastasis, the finalist for the AWP Award Series Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. She received an MFA from the University of Houston, where she served as Poetry Editor of Gulf Coast. She lives with her family in Minneapolis.

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