by Julie R. Enszer

We have beautiful photographs

from our wedding;

small intimate ones—

our banded fingers,

looking into each others eyes

just before the ceremony,

cupcakes and flowers—

and large celebratory ones—

the New York Skyline,

a panorama of guests

witnessing our vows—

but the one I return to,

the one we never had developed,

is of my mother

alone on a low chair

she looks slightly ill

she looks like she is about to cry.


This is the mother I remember

She hated that I am a lesbian

but loved how tolerant she became.


In her last years, she said,

See, Julie, I can tolerate

these perversions

I still give you money

I give you presents

it is not so bad.


Some days, I look at that photograph

and whisper

I didn’t kill you

as you said I would

and even though you wished

me dead

you didn’t kill me either.


When I feel bold, confident,

I whisper to my dead mother:

She still loves me.

Kim, my Kim still loves me.


Everything you told me

was not true.

Julie R. Enszer, PhD, is a scholar and a poet. She is the author of Sisterhood (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2013) and Handmade Love (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2010). She is editor of Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2011). Milk & Honey was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. She has her MFA and PhD from the University of Maryland. She is the editor of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the Lambda Book Report and Calyx. You can read more of her work at