Marriage License

We were really hungry as we

walked down Centre street

eyeing the grocery stores

and peeking into the dunkin’ donuts

wondering if we had enough time to catch a bite–

the rush of the transaction

pushed us on towards City Hall–

(passing it actually)

so we turned around

back towards 141 Worth street

and waited some more–

watched Tweedledum and Tweedledee

skip the line

dragging her soon to be husband around the anteroom

looking for another way to skip the line

hurry the process

make the whole damn thing go faster–

and then the gold doors of the City Clerk’s Office opened up

we took a crisp white slip

with a number on it


waited some more on long sage green cushions

admired the art deco craftsmanship

the remodeling

the cool air conditioning–

and thus

our number was called


lucky seven

and the clerk with a light blue shirt

and dark blue tie

asked us in his broken English

“Is your information correct?”

“What is your mother’s maiden name?”


“Do you want to have a ceremony in City Hall or somewhere else?”



at City Hall…

and I wondered if his parents wanted him to become something else

a doctor maybe

as he nodded off for a few seconds…

Outside in the warming summer sun we spoke:

“Are we married yet?”

“I don’t think so– we have to come back and someone has to sign the papers…”



The Chinese women move slowly

Tai chi practices envelop the park

in Downtown

bordering Chinatown

the Fan Dance ensues

blues and reds and purples wave

and I am happy that

ancient rituals exist

that dances never die

and that love

continues to allow

the breath

to make another final mark–


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