My thoughts are caged in, trapped.
Every day they look out, rattling
the bars, trying to squeeze through.
They drive me crazy.
But, a skilled and careful jailer,
I tossed the key a long time ago.
My mother read my journal
when I was seventeen.
Then she took her pen to it:
We’ve never had a QUEER
in the family before! Circling
and underlining things.
You’re SICK! Drawing arrows, pointing.
You need a psychiatrist!!
I burned it. Every single page
and the cover, too. As if the fire
could incinerate her hatred.
For years, I didn’t write again. And if I did,
it was followed immediately
by such blazing. As if the fire
could reduce her words
Published in Stonewall’s Legacy Anthology, June 2019
This poem may not be reproduced without the author's permission.