Under Blue Blankets

by Matt W. Miller

You’re straight, right? says a lean black man
in a Subway on Mass Ave by the Orange

Line stop as you fill up a cup with ice
and Sprite.

Yes, you say before the question
has really set in

before you have had time to consider
other answers, other possibilities.

You are 23, from a mill town,
you played ball, you like breasts and ass

but perhaps there is a wonderful other
world to love,

to hug, to press lips to lips and linger
at the luxury of a kiss.

What a waste, he says and smiles and turns
to the door, a bike at his side, a Coke

in his long fingered hand.
And was it a waste? Was there a moment

you should have walked after him,
asked him why, why a waste?

And maybe you would have walked
a few blocks with him

and maybe you didn’t go back to work
that day but grabbed

a beer at Bukowski’s and maybe you
went back to his place, felt a hand

slide to your cock. Or maybe
you waited a couple of days and

then went back to his place.
Maybe his was a kiss

you never knew existed, a kiss
that touched a different type of tender.

Maybe he showed you the gentle
in a man’s thick hands,

thighs. And maybe you always wanted
a hug as hard as your own

and so you talk to your girlfriend,
your mom, your dad, your brothers.

Years will need to happen until
the two of you eat turkey and gravy

with them but it would happen
and the two of you will buy flatware

and build shelves in an apartment
and you’ll try to write as he gets up

to go to work. Children? I don’t know.
We start that talk but never

finish. We drink wine, the Walking Dead
is on and we joke sad and silly

about the zombie straight.
He will have taught me to love his beard,