Today, New Year’s Eve, forty-nine years ago
Inside, couple said their vows; outside, sleet and snow.
Forbade union of young love, caused them to elope
Across state line where secret marriages found hope.

Ceremony performed at a preacher’s abode
Down the hall, splashed and hissed a leaky flushed commode.
Cold rings on warm fingers would signal their joined life
But not till he’d said, “I pronounce you man and wife.”

Slick roads homeward, giddy, they slip back on their trek
Hands cold flex, eyes wet glance in the dark at car wreck.
Breezed by blue lights; can’t wait to tell mom “I’m a spouse”
“Mom, it’s me,” her cry echoes through cave-quiet house.

Mom’s not home; does not respond to call of her name
Once familiar now feels strange, nothing looks the same.
Mom’s gone, not coming home, newly weds did not know
She died on road to secret wedding in the snow.

From: Sit a Spell