My fear is for the young ones,
not for ourselves.
We have known what it is
to be strangers to the law
living together for years.
It was only with the birth of our son
that we became a family.
We tied off his umbilical cord
and the law that made us his parents,
when you adopted him,
was what tied us together.
We are accustom to the world
that lets us go unrecognized.
But the people younger than us,
the people who did not go to lawyers
to create their wills,
the ones who did not create
advance directives and trusts,
those are the ones I worry about.
Do you remember how you wouldn’t let me cross
over the Potomac river into Virginia,
in my third trimester
because you knew if he were born in that state
his birth certificate would never have your name?
It seems so distant as he is about to turn eleven
and we are married everywhere we go-
but then, there’s this feeling, not certainty,
that it’s so very close.
Yes, my fear is for those who are younger
and maybe that means our children.
Where the family they know and have
can be erased so easily
by strangers in robes.
“Strangers in robes” is such an ominous startling end image. I also like how in the penultimate stanza takes this from jurisprudence to a pregnant trip in a car or boat and thus becomes life and death.