by Alondra Adame
Fear is waiting until you’re seventeen to come out. You and your best friend
in a movie theater, choke on the taste of butter and tears.
But real fear, true gut-wrenching fear,
the kind of fear where your heart and stomach
somehow become the same rotting organ in your chest,
is coming out to a Mexican mother.
Queer Chicano writer Michael Nava calls the closet
“a form of personal oblivion”
But even the closet is better
than having your mother call you a jota,
your mother making you promise to never tell your father,
than hearing your father call for the deaths of gay men and women
and get so fucking red-faced with rage when they ruled gay marriage legal,
than knowing your little white town would not only make fun of you being brown
but also for being pansexual, for dating boys but pining over girls
who speak their minds with soft wisdom and smell like rose water.
So now you’re not just a beaner but you hear the word faggot in your ear
Like the whisper of a demon that’s made especially for you.
They say it gets better, sometimes it doesn’t.
I wanted this poem to be positive like one of those
nice little movies where the white kid comes out
and everyone is pretty much cool with it.
But it’s not and Michael Nava was wrong.
The definition of oblivion is a state marked
By a lack of awareness or consciousness
And I am fully aware of my small, solid space
in the closet.