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The Kinloch Rivers Memorial Prize

Katherine Williams

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Anagram: Epithalamion

Cymbidiums in tidy nests of peat.
A Genoise in stacks, nasturtiums atop.
Men and maids upholstered in muted teal.

One mother stifles her lament;
the other pours another bourbon over mint.
One father sprang for a phaeton;
the other gives not one iota.
The bride gives her lips a coppery patina,
her nails a fourth coat of paint;
dons a temporary halo.

To the groom, slightly more man than animal,
such fuss makes less sense than Latin;
he’d rather be installing laminate.

The oak under which they once met,
roots heaving, ants working at the pith,
feels its heavy branches going to peat.
Soon put to the lathe,
they’ll smoke like paper, whine like metal.

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