From this moment

Emory Oakley

Tattoo art: Genevieve Caron

Tattoo art: Genevieve Caron

At four years old I danced
around the kitchen, pretended
to help my mother clean
while Shania blared
from the living room. She lifted the soap covered sponge
and sang into the suds. I laughed,
she performed like a rock star, like
Shania Twain
in leopard print leotard
from her '99 tour

I wondered how my mother wasn't a star

The first time he said 'I love you'
It felt like This is the Moment
I started to believe in love again
felt the roller coaster stomach drop, the catch
of cold breath in the middle of winter, saw the future
like something I actually wanted to participate in

His I love you slowly turned into From This Moment
sounded a lot like a love song, or
a promise, like this
is how you build a future

My tongue twisted my ‘I love you’ into
wedding vows before I knew it was happening.
I thought about us shopping for suit, wondering
which one of us would look better in white,
which traditions we might hold on to
And what we have to let go of

I sing our favourite love songs in the shower
fantasize about our first dance
but I can't visualize the reception
Not without my mother starting a conga line
enthusiastically dancing the chicken dance
and singing along to Shania Twain
Really, I cannot see a wedding day without my mother
without her having met my future husband

But I remind myself
the celebration of queer love has always looked different
I may walk down the aisle with a bouquet of glitter,
hand in hand with my partner because
there will be no giving away
there is no bride  

And I will have to be satisfied that my family
will bring the memory of my mother with them.