Orphan and Queer




My mother is dead.

I’m glad.
I was a good son.

My mother is gone.
I’m sad.
I was in love with her.

My mother loved me.
It hurt.
She loved my brother more.

My mother hated me.
I learned.
She had no one else to punish.

My mother ignored me.
I yearned.
My soul stretched all the way to God.


When I was a child, I had a problem.
I knew, with the naked knowing of youth,
I was queer, and would be all my life.

I also knew not to tell anyone.
Who would want to hear this?
Silence said: “Be silent.

Your desperation’s your own.”
I kept quiet, as best I could,
and walked quietly out of childhood.

Heroes and Householders by Steve Turtell

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