Featured Poet Paige Elizabeth Wajda


What I Mean When I Talk About Bi Erasure 

A used to pluck my long dark hairs 
from the kitchen floor, 
and scream.

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 
and scream. 
You touched him. You fancy her. You’re using me. 
You prefer her because she speaks better English, you 
disgusting American. 
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. 


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