I will not turn my back on you, no matter how many shadows
you cast between the sunlight and me. Your hands shake
often, You promise me that it is just the cold air nipping at your
fingertips. They tremble even when I shelter them in my own,
In that moment, I notice the crumb trail of lies you’ve left behind for me to follow.
I used to think you spoke slowly for the sake of clarity. I would elongate my syllables,
emphasizing each letter, knowing you’d "ah-pre-she-ate" the gesture. Not until
I was running out of time, mouth full, did I realize that’s what you were buying.
It’s difficult to believe that all of this was for nothing. Pain can’t be quantified
and distrust comes with a strict no return policy. The old man at the gas station
tells me for the thousandth time that I look just like you did when you were younger.
So, I thank him politely like I’m supposed to, silently vowing never to return. I no longer
wish to be like you. You swore that my grandfather would have loved me had he
ever met me, then told me with the same breath that he never would
have understood “my preference.” As if sexuality was something that you chose
off the shelf between ignorance and happiness. I tell you that he would have
loved me anyway. After all, I have his strong jaw line and his unwavering
sense of justice. You stare at me puzzled, for I’ve contradicted everything
you’ve said. I stare out the window over the fields of waving grass wondering
how many straws I’d have to pluck before I could leave this place.