When I Was Straight

By JULIE MARIE WADE

I did not love men as I do now.

I loved them wincing & wanting to please.

I loved them trying too hard.

 

The world was an arrow pulled taut,

pointing toward an altar.

I was blushing & bashful, but never

 

a bride.

 

There were little things, too.

I had hosiery, a silky camisole,

a nice pair of heels. But I’d have to slip

 

them off if the man was shorter

than I, slouch against walls, one knee

always bent like a penitent

 

at communion.

 

I may have smiled more then,

the part of my lips so often mistaken

for happiness. In fact, it was something else—

 

a fissure, a break in the line—the way

a paragraph will sometimes falter

until you recognize its promise as

 

a poem.

 

 

Julie Marie Wade is the author of Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures (Colgate University Press, 2010), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir.

[Click here to purchase your copy of Issue 07]

When I Was Straight

Related Posts

poetry feature image

January 2021 Poetry Feature: Bruce Bond

BRUCE BOND
I was just another creature crawling from the mausoleum, / and I thought, so this is it, the place in the final chapter / where I am judged for all my cruelties, blunders, failures of attention, / and I waited for the furies to take me, or some such host. / But it was just another morning.

Sky full of comets

Poems in Translation from Bestia di gioia

MARIANGELA GUALTIERI
And he soars / saved, outstretched / untouched by the gravity that pins us / down / we deserters of empty spaces and heights / shadows cast / into modest taverns for a bite. / Heads in capitals / of rust. / A lifetime annuity of darkness. / Only a cry can save us now.

poetry feature image

December 2020 Poetry Feature: Denise Duhamel and Jeffrey Harrison

DENISE DUHAMEL
Where was I / when I was 20? I’d already been accepted / as an exchange student, taking my first plane ride / to London where I’d catch a train / to Wales. On that first flight, I sat next to a woman / in a shawl—how old was she? It’s hard to say.