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poetry by Aaron Michael Toon

CONTENT WARNING: homophobic slurs and rape. Please read at your own risk.


Forgive me, Mother, for I’m

not the son you wanted.

I’m the child you know the least,

the actor costumed in variations

of truth. Counting my deceits

would name every star


I am the son who scraped “queer”

from his locker freshman year,

whose peers snickered fag every

time he spoke, who, after marching


practice, was hugged by Kyle & Travis,

their sweaty clothes discarded,


because they knew I liked penises

pressed against me. & forgive

me, Mother, for I only

struggled free that first time.

I am the son who says he’s “going

for a walk,” but sneaks over to the neighbors’

barn to fuck their landscaper;

who was slipped Rohypnol at 15


in a red solo Sprite, & spent the morning

after in throbs & aches, whose first

time was a blackened blur,

a shadow pressing sweat & cum


inside me. You’re marble when I confess

I’m terrified of men despite


the burn their bodies bring: that blood-hot

flush, that flash of pain-pulsed pleasure.


Mother, I’ve draped myself at your feet,

like a quilt you only half-expect to use


during the night, & you haven’t moved,

not even when I whisper I hate myself


You don’t caress my cheek, stroke

my hair, or even embrace me.


We are chiseled & hammered

from different stones, sculptures unjoined.


Aaron Michael Toon

Aaron Michael Toon holds a MFA from Rutgers University-Newark, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. Currently, he resides in California’s Central Valley. He works in the business of creation as a Theatre Director at a local high school, and adventures with his husband and six fur-children. 

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