by Shane Ryan
cast in the luster wiped against each other, when the floodgates burst, free and orgastic— the way they heard it, the lisp between my teeth, “i love him,” (as soldiers rejoice in the trenches, wash naked and playlike in the River Tigris) and when i broke my vow to straightness, the default mode less you falter gayly, with that campy fizzle of tongue, serpentine, our dining room a collapsed lung, a vacuum transitory, like all sound sucked away at the dropping of a pin. my aunt squinted her eyes, having declaimed this nation’s want of morality, my friends who play the fag slur fast and loose, The words of a relative: “switch-hitting, that’s greedy,” “like a brother,” I say pitch-shifted— and Rockwell’s Thanksgiving resumes. I love you, babe, for the same reason a hetero would, but my family love you otherwise, for you affirm the guise I’ve worn through life. if only those first words yet hung, swinging before their disapproval, what bigotry I could harness, stammer off: fury into dread, virile, Bronson, bare-knuckle boxer, De Niro in Taxi Driver.