Poetry: “When Hallmark Makes a Lesbian Wedding Commercial” by Ali Wood

Ali Wood’s emotionally charged depiction of this speaker’s experience shows the rise and fall of a Hallmark wedding commercial featuring lesbians, comparing it to the love story of her own two mothers and their wedding. Both bitter and sweet, Wood expertly balances the fantasy of the commercial with the comfort of her mother’s love, and asks complex questions about our relationships to our parents, media representation, and ourselves.

When Hallmark Makes a Lesbian Wedding Commercial
conservatives beg them to take it
     down. One blonde, one brunette,
          sliding gold onto each other.

My moms, watching, gulp
     this scene like a glass
          of blackberry brandy.

Mom takes mimi’s calloused guitar
     fingers, skin still scented of hibiscus
          she picked in the backyard,

tucking their stalks tenderly inside
     cleaned-out peanut butter jars
          as though behind her ear.

Years ago, they also married,
     rings engraved Always.
          A fictional wedding aired on television

for millions to watch;
     my moms’ wedding quiet,
          officiant as only witness.

Soon after, Hallmark listens and the brides
     evaporate, a plucked thorn off the neck
          of an ugly rose.

Time slips backward like a love note
     between the cushions of their favorite
          yellow Jeep.

When mom tells the story, she laughs.
     I guess we don’t exist.
          She will do anything

to feign a good mood.
     Her voice haunts.
          In this good world,
we don’t exist.
    After bathing in the hot tub—
          their first vacation in months,
a luxury—their fingers wither
    until the rings slide clean
          off, gold-chalked sun
melting in condensation
    and sweat and
         the heat of forbidden bodies.

Ali Wood

Ali Wood is a writer, poetry instructor, and environmental educator. She received an MFA from NC State and has poems published in Passengers Journal, Gulf Stream Magazine, The Shore, Bear Review, and others. Her poetry is queer-centric with focuses on family, mental health, and nature.

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