the Wedding Supper, 1962

For months the women gather
mother, grandmother, aunts, older cousins
to bake kiefle, buttery crescent shapes
filled with jam or nuts, the real treat,
though the wedding cake will seem to star.

After the service, the sit down dinner ended, cake cut,
the men folded wooden chairs, pushed them to the walls,
bride and groom dance, then separate,
the men, one by one paying to dance
with flushed girl-bride stuffing bills into her bra—
good luck—
before heading to the open bar upstairs
where schnapps and gossip flow
and the women once again kitchen-bound,
heat the spicy sausages and potatoes and kraut
for the midnight supper, unwrap trays of pastry
all that work, all that sweetness gone in an hour.

about the author
Native Ohioan Judy A. Johnson has lived in the Miami Valley for more than three decades. She is a freelance writer and a reference librarian at Clark State Community College. A member of a small writing group since the 1990s, she has written poems that have been heard on WYSO’s “Conrad’s Corner” and at Art and Poetry events at the Dayton Art Institute. Her book, A Week to Pray About It, a collection of meditations, was published by Cowley Publications in 2006.