I always liked the word queer.
Like a mushroom or a flower;
paraphernalia, unexplained and unexplainable.
Like a stone held in my hand,
And maybe that was because my tongue always tripped over the syllables of ‘lesbian’
because my skin didn’t fit over my shape as well as it should have
my gender didn’t fit into my mouth,
dipped in the center and cleaved like a bamboo shoot,
I heard it in biology
outside on the lawn.
It was sunny that day,
we were dissecting segments of grass and hardy weeds,
counting the bursts of yellow dandelion
on wind chilled fingers.
“I don’t like those people, they’re queer.”
Like the breath rushed out of me,
I couldn’t breath.
These were not the insults hurled through windows,
these were not the misconceptions and the malapropisms spewed from half-minded whispers.
It was me.
I wanted to take my sun-dipped hands and press them around his words,
strangle them until they had no power over me.
I wanted to make dandelions grow in his throat so he couldn’t breath
like I couldn’t breath.
But instead I swallowed my anger,
and walked away.
I am not afraid of my identity.
I am not afraid of a word.
I am afraid of the people who use it like he did.
A definition of distaste
A person who would look at a mushroom,
or a weathered weed, soaking in the sun,
and kick it,
for no other reason except to see it bleed.
Who would look at me and see something
to be ashamed off.
Well guess what.
I choose that word.
And you don’t get to take it back from me.
It belongs in the pocket of those who love it.
Who tend to it,
like a garden.
It belongs to the tired and the weary,
to those who have fought to be who they are
for their entire lives.