Literary as hell.

“A Brief History of the Marriage Vow” by Glen Armstrong

A Brief History of the Marriage Vow

The idea is to get the bride and groom to float toward each other, defying the layers of clothing they have rented. The idea is to obscure the idea with ritual, organ music and flowers, deifying the silence that, though brief, truly heralds their commitment. In this smallest of pauses before the ceremony, they have no idea. No lips. No history. No one breathes as a man trained in all things uncertain guides the trembling couple toward new uses for their mouths.


Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He also edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters.


1 Comment

  1. mario savioni

    I was impressed with the title “Furious Gazelle,” then “A Brief History of the Marriage Vow,” the font, the images, but then I thought that getting two people closer against the trouble of rented clothes defies the reality of marriage. Making the vow is only easy is she’s the most beatiful woman you’ve ever seen, and you love listening to her talk and think out loud, and when you made love you couldn’t imagining how incredible it was. But, of course, you realize she may be out of your league and you couldn’t possibly keep her interested. She wants to have babies and you do not because she is the only person you’ve ever wanted and you can’t imagine keeping her happy and supporting a family, and you know in the back of your mind it’s going to kill you. It’s not about the rented clothes, although there is a hint that the whole arrangement is about money, not about love and your role as provider. She claims she wants blue collar but also says she wants to lie around and make babies.

    No, I never contemplated what I was wearing, just how tight the collar was around my neck and I sick I felt. My mouth only wanted to say, “I love you, isn’t that enough?”

    But then her mother came into the dining room, her fake boobs like hard rubber balls practically in my mouth because she was so tall in her high heels and me in flats, and I looked at her after she hugged me. “She said there were no fireworks when you met,” and you knew it was over even if your ex walking around with the new guy wasn’t enough.

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