Wedding with First Boyfriend

by | Nov 15, 2017 | Poetry

After forty years, we know everything
that can & does go wrong—five divorces
between us. The more we drink
and talk, the more his teenaged face

peeks out, a starved cat in the ruins.
The hungry looks I loved slink there—
the eyes, the lips, the joking voice.
He has let himself go.  Go where?

He has settled for a cupboard when we
once owned the very palace
where this young couple shines,
arrogantly beautiful and clueless.

When we part, I miss his hapless
come-on. Yet who was ever happier
than we were then, all those hours we spent
on that rank couch in the basement?

How was this man defeated, who used to sing
and play me Lay Lady Lay on his guitar?
Who, driving to the movies, used to kiss
my fingers in the dark of the car.

Listen to this poem:

Wedding with First Boyfriend by Barbara Ungar

Photo used under CC.

Poem read by Barbara Ungar and recorded by Leanne Ungar.

About The Author


Barbara Ungar’s sixth book, After Naming the Animals, is forthcoming in June 2023 from The Word Works. Her prior book, Save Our Ship, won the Snyder Publication Prize from Ashland Poetry Press and a Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association, and was a Distinguished Favorite at the Independent Press Awards. She has work forthcoming or recently published in Scientific American, Crazyhorse, and Small Orange. Her work has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Bulgarian. A professor of English at The College of Saint Rose, she lives in Saratoga Springs, New York. For more details, see .