Ash Bowen

If Pain Weren't Already Your Husband

—for Jane

If pain weren’t already your husband,
I would gladly be.  We’d hold hands and smile
in ambulance rides, our faces bathed
beneath the red wail and splash
of rescue lights.

Our hospital bed would move by electric power.
Breathless and connected
to switches, we’d need oxygen
when we’d made love right. 

And when you went down
under the knife, I’d travel that rope
of anesthesia with you.  Sympathetic
surgery.  Identical sutures.

We’d laugh in post-op about the altar,
how wrecked by lust, we’d rushed the priest
through his litany of vows. With this pain,
I thee wed. I do, I do, I do.

Drunk on punch, you’d wobble to the limo.
You knew when the honeymoon was over,
I’d carry you across the threshold.