I’m looking at their faces. At their purely naked

bodies and their ability to push and be pushed.

I’m blown away. Rainbows didn’t exist then,

but the presses did and they were hot and wild

and they were lovely. I’m reading their words

and holding them up to my own heart to see if

they match; I will never be as brave.

I came out to my dad

we were sitting on the couch

watching television. I’d written a lengthy


in the notes app of my phone it

had seemed the right thing to do

at the time.

They pushed and pushed and were pushed out

of windows and onto the spikes of pitchforks

and I didn’t know. I arrived too late to have

known before. I’m looking into the faraway

eyes of a likely-dead lesbian with a sign that


I am your worst fear.

I am your best fantasy.

She’s beautiful. I would have loved to meet her,

to speak with her. I want to meet them all, every

single one. They are all of them courageous and

lovers and lovers always win. Even then.

I felt foolish reading my dad

the memo. like reciting

modern Shakespeare

something equally

dramatic / I felt

really just me

trying to explain,

to figure out

how I should do this

all I should have done

was just say it.

They were selling LGBTQ postcards in the gift

shop. Though I could see a pair of rotten capital

-ist hands all over of them, I bought four in black

and white. In one, a class photo of transsexual men

and women. One of the women wears an apron and

carries a rolling pin.

My dad was quiet

“okay.” what I expected

from him the next morning

he had “googled me” so he


for sure what pansexuality meant

when I was so afraid that

I still didn’t.

I’m looking into their faces, wondering what kind of

people they were. I’m assuming they are all long gone

now. Still they are bold and beautiful and I hope that

they died in bed as someone loved and not at the end

of a pitchfork or a burning pyre. I could probably find

out their true fates but somehow that seems disrespectful

to their memories. Or maybe they’d want me to know.

Respect has to be earned.

I was so scared it was fear.

Fear that I was making this

up (to belong) or trying

to be something

I wasn’t I stayed awake all night

thinking and doing “research”

trying to make sense of it

I’d never thought about it

I was ______ or this

since the beginning

sex wasn’t something I ever

really thought about but love

was and attraction I was learning

fluid for me. That was a relief

I didn’t know I needed

the framework wasn’t so rigid

I could be with X/Y/someone all

of a sudden I could know

that mattered

to me.

“Holding the Man”

What do you say?

Will you run away?

With me, in you hand-me-down car?

I know a place, I promise we’ll be safe,

no one will see.

Your father knows, and so does mine.

Welcome to the unemployment line,

so long as we’re together.

I bought you a ring today,

and as the woman boxed it away,

she asked me who it was for.

As you can imagine, I was shown the door.

I understand, why being different is such a cause for concern.

Still I yearn, to take you, my darling, to Italy.

Where I will dance in the dawn with you,

and hold your hand in public.

Where you will guide me down the sand,

and away from dry land.

We’ll float, side by side,

inviting the tide,

to our wedding.

We are playing a game,

in their eyes, a false declaration, a schoolboy crush.

But my sight only falls on you.

My love, my husband.

I don’t need anyone’s permission.

Because when I kiss you,

I taste the stars.

My hands start to shake.

I grab onto you,

as our prophet delivers his final words.

I can feel your heartbeat,

as quick as a hummingbird’s.

Then nothing, as you turn to look at me.

I guess Italy will have to wait,

for something less ornate.

But we will stay together.

I won’t leave you.

It’s got a hold of you now, my dear.

But I still have that smile you gave me,

your beautiful laugh.

I replay them in my head,

as your lips see red,

and the ocean steals you away for good.

It is in Italy that I will be misunderstood.

Lying in a golden glen,

holding you,

time and again.

“Paul’s Case”

He dabbed a sprig of liquid lavender on one wrist.

Then the other.

His mirror gawked at him,

at her,

struck blind by such brazen behavior.

The crystal bottle shook as his hands did,

which made replacing the cap difficult.

His father didn’t know.

His father didn’t know about the silk scarves stuffed into a small slit in the upstairs mattress. His father didn’t know about the trips to the theatre district, and the lace costumes she had tried on.

Was there no mercy? No understanding?

Of course not,

this was a man’s world.