When I got married,
an artist from Fargo, North Dakota,
the Eve of her generation,
designed our wedding invitation.
On the front, the Yiddish proverb
each man and woman are
one soul, one flesh.
I remember my mother-in-law
thought it was interesting
which is a word people say when
they would have gone in another direction.
But for us it was the only direction.
We cleaved to each other like
two halves of a single world
that had longed to reunite.
Our first statement to the world
we’re this one thing.
Later my teacher told me how
the more traditional use this proverb to
justify different roles for men and women.
You’re all parts of a whole –
You wouldn’t ask your foot to wave
or your arm to do the walking.
If I were to re-write this for a
twenty-first-century sensibility –
and, after all, isn’t that what I’m doing?
I might remove the gender specificity.
Each person and person are
one soul, one flesh. I am grateful
to have found my other half,
to learn how she sometimes waves
while I sometimes walk.
I cleave to her like we came out of each other.
We shield each other from snakes and dust
as we walk through our garden
eating all the fruit we want.