Let’s Marae!

by Mary Meriam

My nearest, my queerest,
my conjugal dearest,
my closest, my mostest,
what shall I call you?

My lavender gayspeak,
queerspeak and queenspeak,
lost lambda pipsqueak,
your name preference, please?

My love, my dove,
my heaven above,
my who I want more of,
what, what, what?

Mon amour, mi amigo,
spouse in my house,
muse who I choose,
q’est-ce que c’est le bon mot?

My Rae of hope,
my missing mishpochah,
my saving grace,
a bissel hint-hint?

Significant other,
this one, not another,
my own homo lover,
onomastically who?

Woman plus woman,
man plus man,
an accepted plan,
I pronounce you, nu?
Will you marae me?
Darling, what did you say?
The word is marae.
Will you be my rae?

rae [RAY] -noun – the affectionate, legal, and religious term
for the spouse or partner of a gay or lesbian person.

marae [ma-RAY] -verb – to join as spouses or to take as a spouse,
in the marriage of a gay or lesbian person.

The neologisms rae and marae are derived from
“My Rae,” the name Lillian Faderman gave to her
courageous and devoted aunt. As a new term for
gay and lesbian partners, “my rae” honors Lillian
Faderman’s tremendous courage and devotion to
gays and lesbians. “Marae” means “sacred place”
in Polynesia. At the marae, culture is celebrated,
customs are explored and debated, and weddings
and birthdays are held.

(first published in Chiron Review, Winter, 2008)



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