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 Lore, The Seventh Wave, [PANK], and JMWW.