Love #1

Years have passed,
since we met
since I heard your refrain
“I wish I had a boyfriend.”

It was clear,
then and now
that if I could have been
for you
I would have.

But there was too much
in the way
from my own romanticism
— my underestimation
of your strength —
To the daily wear of slurs
like a disease
I thought would be passed on
to you
— if! —
there were a chance
in that hell
for us

I gain more
from a sweet, small, gentle voice
thanking me
for what I didn’t have to do

It matters more
even though all it seems
is a tiny acknowledgment
that I
have the capacity
for more
but I might be dreaming

I am not a woman
but I am not a man
— not all the time
Because of this…
the worn labels do not fit
I am somehow
in a liminal space
between darkness and dusk
though I aspire to
the dawn

The dark can always become light
but the light has nowhere to go
but into darkness
heed this

how can I become
what I need to be
in darkness?

I have yet to feel
the touch of a knowing hand
upon my breast
The feel of a small waist
between my palms
the scent of perfume
beneath my mouth

What would that be like
I wonder
not hiding
in some way
having a guide
through the terror

What would it be like
to be able
to experience approbation
for my love
To hear ballads
expressing my own passion
in my own timbre

It is not the same
I am not “just like you”
unless you were taught
that your love
was soiled
against the Divine
like the endless tide of slurs
it gained

like the hateful assaults
I was spared
only because
I was not allowed
to walk home

I am “just like you”
in the sense that
if you lived through all I did
had the same history
the same chain of lives
and no more
we would be the same

but that is not
what happened.

And so I rest here
waiting for the day
when I can live
without fear of attack
when I can release the knowledge
that if I should speak
of my love
of my self
I may be killed for it

I don’t think
that when you spoke
of your imaginary boyfriend
you realized
the pain I had at hearing this
How much I wanted to
wrap you in my arms
Hold you
Love you
can you imagine
the repercussions that would have had?
before our entire class

Would the rest of my life be
this way?
Desiring women
who would overlook me
because of the gender
they thought this body contained
Because all we may have together
is a daughter
probably with a mental disorder
my genes are shot anyway
and I’ve been willing to leave them
for you

But you are a phantom of the past
and my world is not as it was
but what am I, exactly?
some kind of shapeshifter
Those who came after you, knew.
Some of them, anyway
but maybe they were too real
for me.


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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