Harold Norse Forgives the Hot Italian Men of their Homophobia

by Tyler Raso
I’m sort of a straight-whisperer my
self. It’s crazy. Doorbells for teeth,
my skin, college-ruled paper. I had
a crush once on a kid who moved from
the Bible Belt. In boy-blue highlighter
he wrote psalms on his arms like
a wall. Real mouth-breather, his breath
always out in the open. Pictured us
alone together in a locker, just
breathing on each other like 
bandages, his highlighter tracing
the crowns in the lines of 
my knuckles. His mom told my mom
we couldn’t hang out anymore, on
account of my being Strange, 
which she, of course, whispered
as if it was covered in burrs.
Straight people love me. My mom
loves me. She named me. My body
inside hers, made of light, a coil
of muscle and string. I was nameless
for a bit. Born premature, barely lunged,
                                                             mom thought
why name something you don’t think
will survive. Why love. Every day
I walk my named body from my door
to my door, living in it like a list.

About the author

Tyler Raso (they/them) is a queer and disabled poet and multimedia artist, currently working toward their MFA in Poetry at Indiana University. Their work is featured or forthcoming in DIAGRAM, RHINO Poetry, Salt Hill Journal, Black Warrior Review, Sundog Lit, The Journal, and elsewhere. You can find them on Twitter @spaghettiutopia.

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by Patrice Boyer Claeys