Epithalamion

for J.F. and D.B.

The boy who scribbled Smash the State in icing
on his wedding cake has two kids and a co-op,
reads (although pretends not to) the Living section,
and hopes for tenure.
Everything’s changed since we played Capture the Red Flag
between Harvard Yard and the River. Which of us dreamed that
History, who grinds men up like meat, would
make us her next meal?
But here we are, in a kind of post-imperial
permanent February, with offices and apartments,
balked latecomers out of a Stendhal novel,
our brave ambitions
run out into sand: into restaurants and movies,
July at the Cape, where the major source of amusement’s
watching middle-aged Freudians snub only just younger
Marxist historians.
And yet if it’s true, as I’ve read, that the starving body
eats itself, it’s true too it eats the heart last.
We’ve lost our moment of grandeur, but come on, admit it:
aren’t we happier?
And so let’s welcome the child already beginning,
who’ll laugh, but not cruelly, I hope, at our comfy nostalgias,
and praise, friends, praise, this marriage of friends and lovers
made in a dark time.
Katha Pollitt