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Poem: "Unspoken Vows" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Unspoken Vows"

This poem came out of the January 21, 2014 bonus Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from technoshaman.  It also fills the "domestic bliss" square on my 12-11-13 card for the Ladies Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to the series Walking the Beat.


Unspoken Vows


There are two black women
who live together in Jamaica Plain,
so old that their cornrows
are white as winter fields.
Abigail and Phoebe do everything
side-by-side, and it's rare
to find either without the other.

Dale and Kelly see them sometimes
in the shops and coffeehouses
around the neighborhood,
holding hands but not wearing rings.

Dale doesn't like to flaunt 
her marriage with Kelly --
their rings are plain gold,
traditional and understated --
but it's nice to have that recognition.

She wonders, sometimes,
why anyone would choose
not to get married when they could;
but she doesn't ask,
because that would be nosy,
and she doesn't want to be rude.

So Dale asks only, "Are you coming
to the Gay Pride Parade later this month?"

Abigail chuckles softly.  "Just because
we have a Boston marriage
doesn't make us lesbians, dear," she says.
"I've never been interested in anyone that way."

Dale looks at Phoebe,
who is sitting right there,
and wonders what the heck
is up with these two batty old women.

Phoebe shrugs and says,
"I had a few boyfriends,
but then I met Abigail.
Weddings are for lovers,
and that's not us."

"Parades are for young folks,"
Abigail adds.  "You kids have fun.
Thanks for asking, though."

Kelly pulls Dale away
before things can get
any more  embarrassing.

Of course it doesn't matter
to Dale and Kelly
what people do -- or don't do --
in their own bedroom.
It's just a little odd to realize
that an assumption wasn't
quite where it should have been

like a loose brick in a road
that wobbles when you step on it.

* * *

Notes:

Look up state marriage laws and you can see how early Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriages.

Gay pride has a history that began with the Stonewall riots.

A Boston marriage refers to two women living together without a man.  Most likely this includes both lesbian and queerplatonic relationships.

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Current Mood: busy busy

13 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
lyonesse From: lyonesse Date: February 2nd, 2014 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
and now i want them to have a wedding so they can collect survivorhood support if one of them becomes a widow.

but i think marriages are for social purposes, and i don't get to lay that on them either :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2014 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> and now i want them to have a wedding so they can collect survivorhood support if one of them becomes a widow.

but i think marriages are for social purposes, and i don't get to lay that on them either :) <<

I think it would be nice if there were better options for nonsexual commitments that had the same level of protection and support that religiously and sexually privileged "marriage" does, for exactly these reasons.
lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: February 2nd, 2014 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Dawwwwww. :D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2014 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: February 2nd, 2014 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
<3<3Boston Marriage.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2014 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm happy to hear that.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: February 2nd, 2014 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a cousin who's lived in a Boston marriage at least my entire life. I'm very fond of the term (& the concept, and the poem)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2014 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

That's encouraging.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: February 2nd, 2014 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Awwww.

Yeah; I know a pair of asexual women who've been partners for decades.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2014 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Awwww. <<

I'm glad you liked this.

>> Yeah; I know a pair of asexual women who've been partners for decades. <<

That's sweet! They're lucky to have each other.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: February 2nd, 2014 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Sweet.

That last simile stays with me:

It's just a little odd to realize

that an assumption wasn't 
quite
where it should have been

like a loose brick in a road

that wobbles when you step on it.


(Oh, bother. Why, when I copied those lines from your post and pasted them into this comment, did they turn into
It's just a little odd to realize
that an assumption wasn't 
quite where it should have been
like a loose brick in a road
that wobbles when you step on it.
?

“Oh, bother,” said the Borg, “we've assimilated Pooh.”)


ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 2nd, 2014 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Sweet.

That last simile stays with me: <<

Yay! I'm glad you liked this.

>> “Oh, bother,” said the Borg, “we've assimilated Pooh.” <<

*BOUNCE* And Tigger too! *BOUNCE*
johnpalmer From: johnpalmer Date: February 11th, 2014 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

The wonderful thing about Borgses
Is Borgses are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber,
Their bottoms made out of springs!
They're bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy
Fun Fun Fun FUN
But the wonderful thing about Borgses
Is they are always one.

Hm. Needs some work.
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