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When Same-Sex Marriage is Legalized in Arizona:

Like yolk dribbling, fork-wounded, from a poached egg

The word wife drips from my mother’s tongue unhindered.

Sometimes a bully, even to men of God, my mother is

A spur in the preacher’s flank until he agrees to gay-marry

Her daughter—a far cry from my first year post-closet:

My mother and I pretended to eat brunch, made tight-lipped

Small-talk about the newspaper. She clung to the story

Admitting the gay penguins in Toronto had separated

And moved on—second marriages, so to speak—

To women. I said, It’s a great argument for sexual fluidity.

She said, Maybe it was a college phase. And closed the paper.

Now, she taps her watch, the empty space on my left hand

And suddenly the room feels too light—like a marble

In a mason jar, smooth shine skating against glass,

Nothing but its own weight to hold it back.




Ruth Elizabeth Morris has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland, where she is a Coordinator for Academic Programs. She was the first-prize winner of the 2015 Writer’s Digest Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poet LoreThe Seventh Wave, [PANK], and JMWW.