EpithalamionSee how, like bees, wedding guests swarm eager groom and tired bride, like pilgrim bees, their hive too populous, that ascend at suntopped midday, drift and swivel like a windswept veil and fall on Mrs. Johnson’s new flowerpot, waiting empty as a church after Sunday services, parishioners scattered, and Reverend Black headed hungrily home for lunch of thickly cut ham, sweet potatoes, peas that roll before his fork like severed heads amid terrible combat, which, see!—have already summoned congregations of vigilant ants, and with raucous caws the district’s crows, gratified as wedding guests swarming tired bride and eager groom.

Jonathan Penner’s novels are Going Blind (Simon and Schuster) and Natural Order (Poseidon). His story collections are Private Parties (Drue Heinz Literature Prize) and This Is My Voice (Spokane Prize). His stories have appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, and many other magazines.


Photo credit: Umberto Salvagnin

3 Responses to “Epithalamion”

  1. Roberta Barg says:

    While traveling in Norway, delightful images from this incredibly well-crafted piece kept “popping up.” In particular, at an 11th Century fort, where a bride and groom in colorful costumes were being photographed midst a throng of friends, family and tourists, I kept looking for “Reverend Black!”

  2. Elizabeth Hampton says:

    It feels like Reverend Black has had a full day, the busy bee!
    I love this piece.

  3. I kept laughing about Reverend Black thinking about his thickly cut ham! The piece is a riot!

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