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.

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When I Was Straight

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