Things to Which I Have Compared Our Marriage

by a contributor

Taylor Mali

A wave, a sunset, a solar eclipse, a star, a shooting star, a black hole, an undiscovered planet, an unlit candle, the last match, a bird’s nest with two blue eggs (like the one we had to move off the flood lamp, knowing the chicks would never hatch); as a fish you can never catch, a nudibranch, shark, a piece of corral, the breath, the dark, a walk in the woods, the snow, the morning, a beach, as a fire in the fireplace that lights from a spark or embers, as a three-legged dog, two cats, one dead mouse licked clean like a loving gift, granite, quartz, sandstone, fool’s gold, a pebble on our driveway, black ice, rain, the ocean, thirteen million undulating jellyfish (and how you emerged from the lake with tears in your eyes for the love of God); as a sprint, the marathon, the broad jump, the hurdles, a nap, a dream, a bath, a hundred-thousand-dollar bill, the Sacajawea dollar coin, a first edition, the last will and testament, the cool side of the pillow, a pasta machine, a queen size bed, a single bed, sleeping alone in a king size bed in a hotel room, a good night’s rest on a hardwood floor; as a vacation, a second home, a luxury, an extravagance, a lightning bolt, a bat, a chant, a game, a tear, glove, tree, stone, nail, needle, silver bullet, a drug, an antibacterial ointment, a balm, a time bomb, a heart attack, a computer, database, hard drive, a trust fund, a glimpse, an epiphany, a mirror, a view of the river, a window, a door, a gateless gate, a gong, a call to prayer; as electricity, a dead light bulb, a dry well, a flat tire, a spare tire, a pair of favorite pants that no longer fit and never will, neatly hanging in the closet; aloha.


Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” A four-time National Poetry Slam champion, he is the author of two collections of poetry and a book of essays, “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World.” In April of 2012, Mali completed a 12-year project of convincing 1,000 people to become teachers and marked the occasion by donating 12 inches of his hair to the American Cancer Society.