Soma Mei Sheng Frazier

Play Wedding

For some reason, they both wore dresses
Alina and Shawn – she ten, he twelve
in the corner of Casa Del Lago Mobile Home Park
where a giant mud puddle formed
the closest thing to a lake

in at least three square miles, and
we closed in an expectant knot around them
shaded by scrappy cedars:
twelve scrappy kids
from three scrappy families.

Shawn had lost a bet
(on purpose, we suspected, as each of us
had seen him following Alina – even
since before her mother bought her
the training bra – down root-ripped paths

around the park’s square, beige club house
with its frayed lounge chairs and disappointing pool
up the center of the one real road that divided neat rows of
not so neat homes)
and now he had to marry her.

This is a real wedding, we told him
and afterward if we catch you kissing
another girl
even on the cheek
we’ll beat your skinny ass.

Maybe, being ten, he hadn’t understood
the accoutrements of weddings
how the bride always wore the dress
and the groom, the tuxedo
in the framed photographs our parents kept

or perhaps his big sister
ringleader of the day
had forced him into the drooping white cotton
that slid and slid and slid
off his shoulders. The low sky

went gray and
a bracing wind picked up.
Do it, said the sister in a voice that meant business
and even now I remember
more clearly than I do my own

first wedding, or even the one
that stuck, how a
cold drop struck my shoulder
and a station wagon appeared slowly
in the street, past the trees – paused, backed up

turned around and drove away as
they moved together to kiss
she in white and he in white; how he
leaned with his eyes closed
like a man on the edge of a cliff

his whole body
and perspiring
the sudden drop before him

Copyright © Soma Mei Sheng Frazier


Soma Mei Sheng FrazierSoma Mei Sheng Frazier‘s debut fiction collection, Collateral Damage: A Triptych,earned praise from Nikki Giovanni, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Antonya Nelson, Molly Giles and others. Soma lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves as Chair and Assistant Professor, English and the Humanities, at Cogswell Polytechnical College. She is hard at work on a novel. Soma’s Notes from the Motherfield essay, “Motherhood as Grand Mal,” can be read here.

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