A borrowed fern with a cigarette burn 
And a [$15] pawn shop ring in her hand
[n.b.  actually bought after leaving the courthouse]
At the Idaho courts to affirm our divorce
Before the marriage began
In a celery boat  singing triangle notes 
To [an automatic]  a horn from the military band
The spectreworks care of Pepper & Dircks’
Bargain Ghost and Haunted Man. 
We awkwardly shielded the curious eyes
Of innocent pines from the [Cape Henlopen State Park]  forest floor 
From the frying pan of a celibate man
To the fires of the premature  - dear lord!
Who could ask for nothing more?  -please, nothing more!
We’re an unshrunk patch on a tear of the edge 
We’re a campaign badge, the short-lived match 
Of an unshrunk patch and the bellow’s edge 
On the iron lungs  of our language.
[By now an] A by-now acquired a fern with a cigarette burn
In a basket with a (rectangle) note on the bedroom floor:
“They repaired my fence, those bastards 
I can’t go back home no more 
Save by a roundabout way, unto each day
Is sufficient misfortune thereof 
With which to spend in proportion to your modest pay
While shopping around for a word like ‘love.’
–With obedient trust as a babe in the womb
And impeccably chaste  as a priest in the tomb
With a Deadwood map  and a dynamite hat
I’ll come back to Idaho soon
Harmless as a Danish cartoon .”
This is not the first time…
This is not the first time God has died .
This is not the first time (capitalized three lettered sound)  has died
This is not the first time
Won’t you help me get by?
Will you help me get by?
Won’t you help me get by?
Will you help me get by?
Won’t you help me get by?
Will you help me get by? 
[note: This song is a “sequel” to the track “C-Minor” on the album Brother, Sister. That song also follows a relationship, in that case one that was in the process of ending, and the emotional and spiritual fallout that followed. Here we find a relationship beginning, and the fallout of that situation as it relates to Aaron Weiss’ current mindset.]
 The fern here is probably a corsage, or maybe a bouquet or other wedding accoutrement. It being “borrowed” might be a play on the popular tradition of including “something borrowed” on a bride’s wedding outfit. That it has a cigarette burn in it indicates its level of shabbiness.
 The n.b. stands for “nota bene”, an Italian and Latin phrase meaning “note well”.
 A celery boat is an hors d’oeuvre; celery stalks are filled with some other food, usually peanut butter. Another element adding to the relatively inexpensive ceremony.
 Shape notes are a music notation designed to facilitate congregational and community singing. The notation, introduced in 1801, became a popular teaching device in American singing schools. Shapes were added to the note heads in written music to help singers find pitches within major and minor scales without the use of more complex information found in key signatures on the staff. Shape notes of various kinds have been used for over two centuries in a variety of music traditions, mostly sacred but also secular, originating in New England, practiced primarily in the Southern region of the United States for many years, and now experiencing a renaissance in other locations as well. The syllables and notes of a shape note system are relative rather than absolute; they depend on the key of the piece. The first note of a major key always has the triangular Fa note, followed (ascending) by Sol, La, etc. The first note of a minor key is always La, followed by Mi, Fa, etc. (from Wikipedia)
 That the horn music is automatic suggests a certain level of artificiality. Perhaps it was a pre-recorded song.
 Henry Dircks was an English engineer who is considered to have been the main designer of the projection technique known as Pepper’s ghost. It is named after John Henry Pepper who implemented a working version of the device in 1862. Pepper’s ghost is an illusion technique used in theatre, haunted houses, dark rides, and magic tricks. It has a long history, dating into the 16th century, and remains widely performed today. Pepper realized that the method could be modified to make it easy to incorporate into existing theatres. Pepper first showed the effect during a scene of Charles Dickens’s The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, to great success. Pepper’s implementation of the effect tied his name to it permanently. Though he tried many times to give credit to Dircks, the title "Pepper’s ghost” endured. (adapted from various Wikipedia articles)
Interestingly, this is not the first time Pepper’s ghost has been used as a mewithoutYou lyric. In “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume”, a disastrous memory of a past failed relationship haunts the character of Bear “like a fiberglass ghost”. The use is similarly applicable here, as the ghost of past relationships, regrets, and mistakes hang over the ceremony as the “spectreworks” provided by the company called Pepper and Dircks’ Bargain Ghost and Haunted Man, in a pun on the Dickens play.
 Cape Henlopen State Park is a Delaware state park on 5,193 acres on Cape Henlopen in Sussex County, Delaware. This will not be the last time Delaware is mentioned on the album, as it plays heavily into the track “Blue Hen”.
 The line itself is, in my opinion, pretty clearly about the consummation of the marriage; an act performed - apparently - awkwardly and in the woods.
 “Jumping from the frying pan into the fire” is an idiom with the general meaning of escaping a bad situation for a worse situation. It was made the subject of a 15th-century fable that eventually entered the Aesopic canon. Here we have the frying pan being associated with Aaron Weiss’ celibacy. This is probably a partial callback to “C-Minor” on which Aaron Weiss sings:
I’m still (technically) a virgin
After 27 years
Which never bothered me before
What’s maybe 50 more?
Obviously, going from being a man three decades celibate to having your first sexual encounter with your wife taking place on a forest floor must be quite an affecting experience. The fires being “premature” indicates that Aaron was not properly prepared for this level of intimacy. There has been some discussion that this is a reference to premature ejaculation, and it may well be, but it works better in the general emotional sense, and I feel like this is the most likely case here.
 This is a desperate plea that no more marital responsibilities be bestowed upon the singer, it would seem. There is a slight chance that this is a play on the song “I Got Rhythm”, but as the phrase, “Who could ask for anything more?” is very common, I strongly suspect that it is just a coincidence.
 The “unshrunk patch” is a biblical reference, from Matthew:
But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. - Matthew 9:16
Essentially, we have here described the inherent dangers of the new marriage. If one person isn’t properly prepared to be invested in such a serious and taxing relationship, this “unshrunk patch” of a pairing can make matters worse.
 This is a line quite disparaging of the possible longevity of the relationship. “Campaign badge” probably refers to promotional badges for political election campaigns, which are fairly fleeting. Matches are obviously short-lived, as they burn out in a matter of seconds. The language here seems to be saying that this marriage has a strong likelihood of ending long before it began, especially if there is not honesty and fidelity in the relationship. This will be explored in more depth below.
 A bellows or pair of bellows is a device constructed to furnish a strong blast of air. The simplest type consists of a flexible bag comprising a pair of rigid boards with handles joined by flexible leather sides enclosing an approximately airtight cavity which can be expanded and contracted by operating the handles, and fitted with a valve allowing air to fill the cavity when expanded, and with a tube through which the air is forced out in a stream when the cavity is compressed. It has many applications, in particular blowing on a fire to supply it with air. (from Wikipedia)
 A negative pressure ventilator, often referred to colloquially as an iron lung, is a form of medical ventilator that enables a person to breathe when normal muscle control has been lost or the work of breathing exceeds the person’s ability. (from Wikipedia)
That the iron lung of “our language” is deflated due to this marriage’s position as an ill-prepared disaster waiting to happen may have something to do with pinning down the exact nature and definition of any one word, causing a lack of confidence in Aaron Weiss’ ability to say anything meaningful or helpful.
 The “rectangle" note is probably a callback to the earlier triangle note in shape note singing. Here it is a note left by the singer for his wife to find. This line brings to mind a sharp contrast to lyrics from “C-minor”:
Open wide my door, my door, my Lord
(open wide my door)
To whatever makes me love You more
(open wide my door)
While there’s still light to run towards
Where there we see an open door - something of an opportunity - here we see just the opposite. The marriage has fixed something that was broken - the “fence” - and left the singer trapped inside a situation he was not prepared for.
 Officially, the band has stated that this song is about “Aaron once again [exploring] how his sexuality and beliefs are intertwined, this time trying to reconcile his monastic ideals and disillusioned romanticism with his new marriage.” Thus far, this theme has been pretty clear. Aaron, the narrator, has gotten into a situation that all his idealistic fantasies, be they about romance or sex, could not prepare him for. Now he finds himself unable to flee back to his former tendency to become a proto-monastic hermit.
 This line is a reworking of a text from Matthew, most closely resembling the King James Version:
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. - Matthew 6:34
Essentially, “take it one day at a time”. The line continues with a pun, based on the change from the word “evil” to “misfortune”. The “misfortune” being the “fortune” that can be spent while seeking a resilient love in the relationship. It being a “word like love” bears some mention, as the end of the song indicates that “God” is simply a “word like G-d”. This concept will be discussed at length below.
 Being “impeccably chaste as a priest” refers to the vow of celibacy that Catholic priests must take upon entering the priesthood. The line is hyperbolic, because the only person who will probably have less sex than a priest is a long-dead priest. The narrator reassures a mutual trust: while away, he will remain faithful and trust that his wife will as well. This honesty and fidelity is the only way the marriage will be able to succeed. As Aaron Weiss is a traveller by necessity, this assurance to his wife is especially poignant.
 While a Deadwood map probably refers to area of the Boise Natural Forest in Idaho, or the city in South Dakota, I can’t help but wonder if the definition of “deadwood” as a useless person has any bearing on the usage here.
 The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy (or Muhammad cartoons crisis) began after the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons on 30 September 2005, most of which depicted Muhammad. The newspaper announced that this was an attempt to contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship. Muslim groups in Denmark complained, and the issue eventually led to protests around the world, including violent demonstrations and riots in some Muslim countries. (from Wikipedia)
One notable cartoon depicted Muhammad wearing a bomb in his turban, thus the “dynamite hat”. That Aaron Weiss intends to return to his wife as “harmless” as this cartoon is up to interpretation. Once again, perception comes into play. From certain perspectives this cartoon was indeed harmless. Obviously, to devout Muslims, this was not the case. So that begs the question: does he return harmless as he claims, or not?
 The repeated refrain here brings to mind the famous quote “God is Dead”.
“God is dead”, (also known as the death of God) is a widely quoted statement by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It first appears in Nietzsche’s 1882 collection The Gay Science, in sections 108 (New Struggles), 125 (The Madman), and for a third time in section 343 (The Meaning of our Cheerfulness). It is also found in Nietzsche’s classic work Thus Spoke Zarathustra (German: Also sprach Zarathustra), which is most responsible for popularizing the phrase. The idea is stated in "The Madman” as follows:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? - Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann
Although the statement and its meaning is attributed to Nietzsche it is important to note that this was not a unique position as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel pondered the death of God, first in his Phenomenology of Spirit where he considers the death of God to 'not [be] seen as anything but an easily recognized part of the usual Christian cycle of redemption’. Later on Hegel writes about the great pain of knowing that God is dead 'The pure concept, however, or infinity, as the abyss of nothingness in which all being sinks, must characterize the infinite pain, which previously was only in culture historically and as the feeling on which rests modern religion, the feeling that God Himself is dead, (the feeling which was uttered by Pascal, though only empirically, in his saying: Nature is such that it marks everywhere, both in and outside of man, a lost God), purely as a phase, but also as no more than just a phase, of the highest idea.’ Of course the spirit in which it is intended is a verily Nietzsche manifestation, however it is important to consider the material that gave rise to this idea. (from Wikipedia)
To my mind, these lines convey a certain tongue in cheek nod to Nietzche, while maintaining a serious take on the mindset of the narrator. To have so completely diverted his course from a single-minded pursuit of eremitic faith and replaced it, so to speak, with this marriage could very well instigate something of a “death of God” in his perspective. It should be mentioned that Aaron uses “God” here rather than “G-d”. G-d is what he has always used on mewithoutYou albums when referring to the actual deity, and he will do so later on Pale Horses. To me, this signifies that this is more representative of a crisis of faith than of a genuine “death of God”. Anyone can say that God has died, but that rarely changes the reality of God. Saying “God is dead” is like turning your back on the ocean while standing on the beach and proclaiming that there is no such thing as an ocean. It doesn’t change the fact that the ocean is there, but if you aren’t going to face it or ever look in it’s direction, it may as well be gone from your perspective. This is not the first time that someone has made the claim that God is dead, and it certainly won’t be the last. I tend to doubt that this effects the reality of God all that much.
 Referring to God as nothing more than a “capitalized three lettered sound” reinforces the idea that it is not G-d who is dying, but only a certain perception of Him. Once again we also find the idea that language is insufficient to describe G-d. “God” is just a word, and slave to the subjective perception of each individual. G-d is everlasting.
 To whom exactly the narrator is pleading is unclear, but the most likely candidates are either God (G-d) or his wife.