on the first or second day,
a sniveling little white boy named Chris looked me up and down, scowled and sneered,
“you’re queer” with a narrowing of the eyes.
I had known queer
to mean weird, out of place, and strange
Becoming small and wounded,
I responded quietly, “no put downs,”
in reference to our class agreements.
And I was always “weird”
or “queer” or “gay”
Didn’t dress right and my hips didn’t sway
And for the longest time was afraid to be
the freak I have always been.
I can’t say I ever felt like a little girl,
or a little boy
Just a spirit I felt; it’s just a spirit I feel.
I wish I could meet all my childhood tormentors
on the playground, in the granite hallways
and stand proud, let them marvel
at my queerness, my strangeness,
“You were right,” I would say, “thank you.”
My mother mourns for me
not in un-acceptance - but for what she fears queerness will bring
on an already Black child.
But does she not understand –
crushing myself into their mold
means they’ve already killed me.