Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bless you, Del Martin

Renowned LGBT activist Del Martin died today ...

Del Martin, 87 and her partner Phyllis Lyons, 83, became the first gay couple in the nation to legally marry on Feb. 12, 2004, after having spent almost 50 years as a couple.

Their marriage was deemed void later that same year, but this summer, when the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal, Del and Phyllis were, once again, the first to wed.

Del and Phyllis did so much for queer rights, for civil rights. These are two amazing women. I'm indebted to them, to all they've done in their lifetimes.

Click here if you'd like to sign Del Martin's guest book.

I feel so sad for Phyllis right now.


This is one of my most difficult realizations, the knowledge that either Annie or I will go first. I even wrote a poem a few years ago about it:


I have to die first, you say. When we met
we called in sick, ate in bed, let dishes and dust
collect. Blossoms confettied out-
side. We were like foals, newly testing

our skeletal limbs. I have to die first,
you say, the woman who stopped eating
when the dog died, as though feeling
your flesh wasn’t yours, or didn’t exist

anymore. So you think I’m the strong
one, the one who can stand being left.
Me, the one who, alone in the house, dusts
the furniture, the remainders of our long

departed skin. The one who wipes the ghost
of our fingerprints from the mirror, who
washes our scent from the sheets, who
rinses the spoon that touched the moist-

ness of your tongue. When we were in bed
last night we imagined how we’d go. Our
favorite: I’m 100, you’re 104.
Our hearts stop, just stop, gently, you said,

in our sleep. At exactly the same moment.
But we know there are likelier fates.
I have to die first, you say. And it’s late,
it’s late. We’re drifting off, even as you say it.


Collin Kelley said...

She will be missed. What a legacy to leave behind. Love the poem, too.

Artichoke Heart said...

Such a loss. (I loved the poem, too!)

Jo A. T.B. said...

What a cute couple they were. This poem one of my favorites of yours.

Dustin Brookshire said...


Has that poem been published?