Ordinary Ceremonies

we don’t wait for a wedding.
on any average Tuesday, we plunge our fingers
into expensive containers & paint our faces gold.

we dress in silk & velvet,
the clothes in the backs of our closets.

listen: if we wait until our birthdays,
we’ll leave half-celebrated, unfinished,
so we become the patron saints of ordinary ceremonies:

digging the garden bed in mid-April, our hands
stained with soil & wrapped in root,
fixing the dents in the doorframe, how we
believed for weeks we could make anything new,
your hand finding a home on the small of my back
down a crowded Bourbon Street.

somewhere, two people we don’t know are getting
married. we eat cake with our fingers.

we laugh & it sounds like prayer.



Click here to read Emily Adams-Aucoin on the origin of the poem.

Image: by Louis Hansel, licensed under CC 2.0.

Emily Adams-Aucoin:

“Ordinary Ceremonies” as a title and a concept is both an oxymoron and the reality of a life lived fully in the present. Ceremonies, as a general rule, are not ordinary. Ceremonies are seen as events to mark only special occasions: birthdays, weddings, religious events, etc. They come seldomly, they are grandiose, they are heavily documented. But why, as humans, do we celebrate so little? There are beautiful things begging to be noticed in our routine, everyday lives: how the sunrise paints the sky a slightly different color each morning, the flowers that grow back wild in our yard no matter how many times the lawn is mowed, the miraculous love from our family that keeps us steady. Why should we not celebrate the small, often overlooked, gorgeous moments of our lives? Why should we live waiting impatiently for the next ceremony when there are opportunities to commemorate life everywhere we look?

Emily Adams-Aucoin
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