Lucas Wildner

Safer


for Grant

Our making out paused
for conversation, or vice

versa. Invite his shirt to join mine
on the floor. He agrees

if I turn off the light.
My fingers continue to draw

moans from him—
what changes in the dark?

Safe from. Safe to.
Whisper him love notes. Ignore

the ashes on the pillow.
We both know Thin Enough,

the measuring tape his fingers
trace around my waist

before asking my size.
Pride-slick, my tongue disappoints me

again. Abstaining from comparison,
the only miracle and who isn’t

out of practice, more comfortable
to confess the body as flaw. Sorry,

I’m a furnace. Sweat-covered,
I grope for the outlet.

What he needs
no man can tell him.

I repurpose my throat.
The fan shakes its head.

 

So Be It

We bow our heads.
Before our dinner
he prays; I recite the German
with a hushed voice—
not out of reverence,
but for softening inevitable slips
from my English-led tongue,
my brain readjusting
to living with German again.

*

When five sat at this table
we held our hands
in front of us,
waiting for the Amen,
for hands to grasp our own,
a blessing pressed into each
from each received.

I watched him
across hundreds of meals,
a generosity in his smiles
whenever my sisters talked
of new boyfriends
and, later, of marriage.

Forgive me, father.
In following their lead,
I did not know I knew
how to silence you.
Your withheld voice
became a demonstration
of what I could offer you.

I left your table
to drive to men who moaned
prayers into a hand
or pillow, urgent breaths breaking
against the stone ear of God.

*

Amen

One routine supersedes
another: he glances at me
then picks up his fork,
and I am holding mine
before I imagine
yet again
seizing his hand—
the pressure from my own
its only petition.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lucas Wildner hikes and teaches in southern King County, and volunteers for the Seattle Arts and Lectures Writers in the Schools program. His current project examines the relationships between internalized homophobia and white privilege. Recent and forthcoming work lives at Nice Cage, No Assholes, birds piled loosely, and elsewhere. On Twitter @wucas_lildner Say hi?

Advertisements