She Said Yeah

Outside the county courthouse of Las Vegas
couples who want to marry wait in line
under a Palo Verde tree, carve their initials
bordered by hearts into the scarred, sickly bark.
No one at the courthouse waits patiently.
The tree bears the letters of your own name
joined with those of someone you’ve never met.
An alter-ego marriage, another you who
plots to deplete his bank account
while he juggles the mistress in Poughkeepsie.
All those knives before licenses to wed,
while the Palo Verde hemorrhages sap,
while shadows fall dead across the concrete.
Ego kills the very thing it loves.

About the Author:
Lynn Marie Houston’s essays and poems have appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, MELUS, Prick of the Spindle, 3Elements Review, Extract(s), Watershed Review, Postmodern Culture, and Proteus, among others. After receiving her Ph.D. from Arizona State, she now resides in her hometown of Newburgh, New York where she lives in a renovated 1968 Airstream camper. When she isn’t teaching English at Orange County Community College, she tends her honeybees.