"Gay Marriage" by Angela S. Patane

“Gay Marriage” by Angela S. Patane

This election year, I wonder if my mother voted

to ban gay marriage. I imagine her standing


in the make-shift booth thinking of her wedding:

how her mother wasn’t alive to see it; how after my father


left, the photos of her father in a suit holding

her white-laced hand still hung in the bedroom.

I imagine she thought of infidelity: how she told

someone’s mother that she and her husband


weren’t having sex anymore; how towards the end,

one Sunday morning at mock family breakfast


(that she was still cooking) her only daughter asked

her soon-to-be ex-husband, “When are you going to get out


so my mother can stop sleeping on the couch?”

How she felt responsible. (Mama, you are not responsible.)


Would she go to Papa’s same-sex wedding? He would invite

her: the mother of his children, the woman who put herself


second (giving him the new car and taking the old—

It’s for his work.), the woman who mopped marble floors,


worked and fed two kids while he figured out

just how much he liked men. I imagine her imagining


the ceremony: gaudy, with showy silver-cuffed suits

and more made-up men than women; how she would


go for the sake of her children, for the sake of conversation;

how she would joke in Sicilian with his brothers and sisters


(those who would go) that she never thought she’d see

her ex-husband marrying a man; how it would be hard to tell


what she really felt. I imagine her marking “NO”

because that way she can let the state decide,


washing her hands of a marriage that, aside

from the children she loves, should have never been.


Angela S. Patane lives in a house by the sea with a sea-foam green guitar, 3 male cats, and a blonde, freckled boyfriend.