i am my beloved’s.

William H. Johnson, Caféca. 1939-1940.

to have and to hold

keep clean, keep communicating, keep being funny & nice

from this day forward

keep the past in the past, keep your jealousy to yourself

for richer or for poorer

max out your 401k, decide who pays the bills and how, share taxes, share accounts, don’t buy anything <$100 without checking in with her

in sickness & in health

exercise, wash your hands, don’t expect thank yous for loading the dishwasher. learn to cook. learn to snack. drink moderately

for better or for worse

you’ll think some wrong & petty things a lot — keep it in your head. learn to make sacred everday tasks, everyday beauties — the smell of her hair, the smoothness of her cheek, the calming & ennobling presence of family, the loyalty she shows friends. the love she gives you unearned

till death do us part

learn to care for her. learn to anticipate her fatigue & her worry. learn to be gracious in the little that you do. one day you’ll be reduced to a body to maintain not a personality to cherish, not a coparent or a partner. one day you’ll need help in ways you can’t imagine, in ways that you won’t notice or recognize. one day it’ll all be over, and you will have lived well thanks to her, thanks to these words today. be happy because you’ll leave her as you found her. beautiful, strong, wise, clear brown eyes, soft skin.

Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid & Lupe Mendez. The title alludes to the wedding vows in a Jewish ceremony–“Ani L’Dodi V’Dodi Li.” Roughly, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”, from Song of Songs 7:10.

5 responses to “i am my beloved’s.”

  1. Oooh, man. This is a beauty, layers within lines all wrapped up in a symphony. Love the structure and the words giving it reality and depth. Thanks for the shares, keep writing!


  2. Joel, have you been looking deep into my soul? “one day you’ll be reduced to a body to maintain not a personality to cherish” somehow this jumps out at me with piercing accuracy. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with words. It has meant the world to write alongside you and I look forward to many more opportunities!


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