“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.