Where You Go

By Ruth Elizabeth Morris

 

From my desk, I watch her turn the pages. She is meticulous, each touch
feather-light and exact in her dissection. There, the Christian myth

is splayed silent, butterflied in Rebecca’s hands. She laughs and looks to me,
points to a picture, and crooks a finger so I will sit with her on the bed.

This is a fascination of ours—looking at Bibles. In this one, an artist has drawn
Jesus as a superhero, shirtless and surrounded by scrawnier sidekicks.

Moses is ripped too, and God’s voice yells POW and BAM and thunderbolts
ZAP ZAP ZAP to smite people all over the Old Testament.

When we flip to the page with Mary’s naked breasts feeding a baby Jesus
drawn as a grown man, I laugh the laugh that blisters throatward

when I feel uncomfortable and return to my desk to finish a thank you note
to my grandmother—the only communication we’ll have this year.

My grandmother let the doctors convince her to get a hysterectomy
after eight births, but only with her priest’s permission.

There are steps we follow in this family: Marry young—he should be Catholic.
Buy a house with a yard. Carry babies. Die.

So, we thrive as pen pals. We write letters around the holidays. She signs her letters
God Bless. I do not. I take after my father—we don’t ask God for favors.

Tonight, the memory of my grandmother’s commandment rests heavy on my skin
each time my fingers hook wet, reach for my partner’s womb:

childless and empty as mine. I wonder what my grandmother’s God would say
about this version of the story: Ruth and Rebecca meet in a lesbian bar.

Ruth drinks tequila until she has the courage to whisper, Where you go,
I will go. Rebecca leads Ruth to the dance floor and they move,

hip to hip, until the bar closes for the night. The women go home together
and never meet Isaac or Boaz or beget babies who will beget good men.

 


Ruth Elizabeth Morris has a B. A. in English from Hollins University and an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland. She was the First Prize Winner for the 2015 Writer’s Digest Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poet Lore, [PANK], JMWW, and Cargoes. Her Instagram handle is @femmesparkleprincess. You can also find her on twitter @princessruthie.

Featured image courtesy of Victória Choice.