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
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,