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.

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