Thursday, September 28, 2006

the lesbians from omaha

the lesbians from omaha
have done their part
have won my heart
by showing how
we all can make a difference

i met them in sioux city
where aleta and i
attended the same college
(though several years apart)

they embraced the nitty-gritty
of activisim
school board meetings
city hall
but most of all
setting an example
by being out
publicly displaying
what their love was all about

i was immediately taken
with their understated zeal
to work for the inclusion
of those of us who feel
pulled to our own kind
in the way that love’s defined

aleta had been married
raised two kids extremely well
(from what i can surmise)
then met her partner jean

both came to realize
the bond they shared between
might have greater meaning
by giving wider airing
to the nature of their pairing
to family
and world beyond

i loved their ardent candor
grew increasing fond
as our paths crossed on occasion
and we would correspond

their move to east nebraska
was for economic gain
the newly minted internet
provided a domain
for them to make connections
to others who were active
in the movement for gay rights
and the lesbians from omaha
spent countless days and nights
collecting any articles
which touched on our concerns
then sending them by e-mail
to those who asked to share
the inherent twists and turns
both negative and poz
of what was written daily
about our calling and our cause

honored twice
on a major publication’s list
of the year’s outstanding gays
we served as happy hosts
for their brief but jam-packed stays
to accept well-earned veneration
for the tons of work they did
without asking for a penny
or any quid pro quo
and their legion of admirers
only seemed to grow

then a couple months ago
jean e-mailed to say
aleta had been stricken
by a cancer
which soon would rage its evil way
throughout her body

and other drastic means
wreaked their own destruction
trying to stem the streams
of mutant cells invading there within
all to no avail
and as our hope grew thin
aleta chose to end the battles
in the fight she could not win

so jean valiantly went forward
arranged for hospice care
stayed steadfast beside her
as aleta tried to bear
the ravages of illness
which left her with the feeling
she was no longer there

i called a couple days ago
aleta speaking just enough
to let me know she hurt
and i did my best
to comfort and once again assert
the love so many feel for her
for both
for everything they’ve done
like the deep appreciation
for cyber webs they’d spun

later on that very day
aleta passed away
jean set another e-mail
to convey the tragic news
the very medium
the lesbians from omaha
had found a way to use
to amplify their passion
hoping they might see the day
when fairness was in fashion

aleta had to leave
before that day arrived
possibly it never will
but few have strived as hard
to make certain that it could

though we are deeply saddened
and loss can’t be understood
aleta left a legacy
for our larger neighborhood
and the lesbians from omaha
have done a world of good

by bill russell


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