We are made and unmade by those we love: expectant white backdrop against which shots are fired at a distance.
In a world with a divorce rate north of 50%, it feels sort of refreshing – in a darker way – to read about the tragedy of innocence lost after a wedding day. Kristina Marie Darling’s Vow is an honest inner-monologue where our speaker almost immediately feels trapped by her own vows, in a burning house full of locked rooms, with a partner unseen, and a white dress that no longer holds the metaphor it should.
What does a white dress actually resemble? Fallen branches. A dead hummingbird. You watch as it hesitates on the cusp of otherworldly.
The “wedding-should-make-us-better-but-didn’t” syndrome in short sentences. The use of white space, and only a few lines per page, gives an even more stark feeling to the loneliness explored in this collection. There is a constant wish for our speaker to escape the burning house, to regain innocence, or even to find the partner lost within the locked room, but most of all, to discover a sense of self somewhere in the space between wedding dress and fire.
Darling has written a very powerful look at what many of us have understood as truth.
My white dress smolders in a locked room.
But I am always —
I can no longer recall
the weight of that dress on my shoulders —