What I Mean When I Talk About Bi Erasure
A used to pluck my long dark hairs
from the kitchen floor,
How disgusting, how lazy, how American you are.
I asked her to come out to her parents for me.
She laughed with derision, and told me
I knew nothing of that country.
Despite it all, I loved her, the spite etched into
her Athenian reflection. She made me ache
in that uniform, and told me that we could elope
in 2035, when she retired from the police force.
M folded me into the family. Held my hand
in public, and after the party, she’d stand in the street
You touched him. You fancy her. You’re using me.
You prefer her because she speaks better English, you
Never mind she preferred to dance with everyone
but me. Never mind all the secret, fevered reading
of my private messages.
After she’d slammed the door for the final time,
I decided I’d sleep alone.
I dreamt of hands which would not ball into a fist,
lips that would not purse into a scream.
And then there was someone.
But the friends all said, It’s weird.
He’s not a ____. We didn’t expect you
to be with a ____. What else
have you lied to us about?
That A ends in ‘buse’ and M in ‘alevolent’;
that even after they’d followed me
to my favorite bar, so that I’d see them making out
at such angles inescapable from vision,
that they were intent upon torture —
you still question why I chose him,
wonder why I still flinch when you joke
but all men are trash.
I allow myself to become eaten by the couch.
Gram watches me peel stickers and place them
into the correct places in the sticker book.
She tells me that I’m talented.
“Talented” — or “not hired” with no courtesy email.
I flip through Grandad’s retirement gift: a journal brimming
with well-wishes and poems: Enjoy your retirement,
we’re all jealous. Have fun. Don’t forget us.
I make art as the numbers command. I cook dinner
and the family ooh and aah. It is my dead friend’s recipe.
Where does talent go? The novels languish, unfinished,
the days slip by like dishwater through my
fingers, worn down from typing
cover letter after cover letter:
I look forward to hearing your response.