Martha Gray Adkins

The bodies of LGBTQ* youth become the site of internalized homophobic oppression.

String us up, the forced sacrifice
of our skeletons, all in a row,
the picket fence, etching out

the boundaries of your property.
White markers of unparalleled surrender.
The literal margin of your happy life.

Cut us up, limb by ugly limb,
stuff us into trash bags and
tell us how beautiful we are now.

Now that you can name us
anything you want.
Carry us around, show us off.

Pretend our wounds have
nothing to do with you.
Pretend we are just like you.

We will stand still for you.
Trained to let you hurt us
the way you told us we deserve

Because, Here, on our bones, you wrote
your love song to us.  Red
lines of distorted poetic truths.

Signs of the repetitious
scrape of your hate,
internalized, manifested.

We took it, as grateful as
You told us we should be, and
kept it. Like it was always ours.

It keeps us company.
Holds us, tighter than
we could ever want.

It sits in the room with us.
Like a loaded shotgun,
propped behind the door.

Martha Gray Adkins
How well can we ever know anyone? [Editor's note.]