my gay is not enough
From John Waters’ “Gay is Not Enough”
by Amelia Gothreau Newett
it is the twentieth anniversary of the attack
on Matthew Shepard and my teeth are melting.
turning to mercury down my throat.
i think about calling my mom and
asking if she knows what day it is.
instead i choke up
my baby molars. they have rotted
in my gut. and yet they are here and
more alive than Matthew. i think
about telling my roommate that today i’m afraid.
instead i know i am not allowed to be. when the queerness
in me tucks itself like wisdom teeth behind
the parts of me it does not own, i am not allowed
to be fearful. i am not allowed to be scared
when i have been told a mouthful of times that
my gay is not enough. my queer is too parched.
she does not know how to only love another woman.
to pit cracked tooth against cracked tooth.
i think about Samantha and Spencer and Charlotte.
i think about Matthew. tied to a fence in wyoming,
wondering, is anyone trying to find me?
they found you, Matthew. strung up
like streamers at a child’s birthday party.
teeth cracked and pouring themselves
down your throat.