Woman, I crossed twelve borders to bring you this grilled cactus drizzled with fire,
this body covered in sawdust, this altar of saltwater framed with barbed wire.
I’m a stranger everywhere, so we’ll have to make our home in no-man’s land.
You booby trap the borders with cow bells, and I’ll build the Forbidden
City and a pole to hang our rice paper flag. When the rain in June chews
through it, we’ll draw lines in the sand, and hang another, never lose
our earthly bearings. Watch me chase away mountain lions with mime.
You can tend the fire in your suit of mud, plaster the walls with lime.
I’ll cook up some pearlash and make you glass to shatter when I’m a beast. I’ll atone
with my tongue, sweep the shards and become the moon, your own glowing stone
slurping at the tides. Hurry. Say yes. I want to stuff you with sugared almonds.
The mice are chewing through the bag of birdseed. The sun burns high. Holland’s
almost underwater. Make your life with me. Let’s build it tall and wide,
set it ablaze, and forget to reproduce. Say yes. A quick nod is fine.
I want to wear you like a second skin. Look, here, at the dark spot, you
unzip. Say yes, woman, then lay with me in the shadows of this old yew.
“Marriage Proposal” is from Jodie Marion’s forthcoming chapbook, Another Exile on the 45th Parallel (Floating Bridge Press, 2012).
Jodie Marion’s chapbook, Another Exile on the 45th Parallel, is forthcoming from Floating Bridge Press in October 2012. Recent poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2011, Narrative Magazine, and The New Guard Literary Review. In 2010 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches writing at Mt. Hood Community College and raises four wild children with her husband in Vancouver, WA.