"Here Comes the Bride"
It comes from Wagner's opera Lohengrin,
when Elsa weds the knight whose identity
she swore she'd never ask. But mystery
is always overwhelming — the heroine
betrays their love to learn his name, and when
he disappears across the river, she
calls after him, then dies in agony.
The congregation rises. The strings begin
to play. Out steps another Elsa, veiled
today from the truth that all love coexists
with death. She's now a momentary queen,
starting her own long walk from fairy tale
first-act to tragic final scene, who risks
them both for all the drama in between.
[CARRIE JARRELL is a graduate of the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins
University and a two-time recipient of the AWP Intro Award. Her poems
have been published in Puerto del Sol, Acumen, Hayden's
Ferry Review, and other journals.]