The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Julie Marie Wade’s “When I Was Straight”

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WHEN I WAS STRAIGHT

I did not love women as I do now.
I loved them with my eyes closed my back turned.
I loved them silent, & startled, & shy.

The world was a dreamless slumber party,
sleeping bags like straightjackets spread out on
the living room floor, my face pressed into a

slender pillow.

All night I woke to rain on the stranger’s windows.
No one remembered to leave a light on in the hall.
Someone’s father seemed always to be shaving.

When I stood up, I tried to tiptoe
around the sleeping bodies, their long hair
speckled with confetti, their faces blanched by the

porch-light moon.

I never knew exactly where the bathroom was.
I tried to wake the host girl to ask her, but she was
only one adrift in that sea of bodies. I was ashamed

to say they all looked the same to me, beautiful &
untouchable as stars. It would be years before
I learned to find anyone in the sumptuous,

terrifying dark.

This selection is from Julie Marie Wade’s chapbook When I Was Straight, available from A Midsummer Night’s PressPurchase your copy here!

Julie Marie Wade is the author of Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures (Colgate University Press, 2010; Bywater Books 2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Memoir; Without: Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2010); Small Fires: Essays (Sarabande Books, 2011); Postage Due: Poems & Prose Poems (White Pine Press, 2013), winner of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series; and Tremolo: An Essay (Bloom Books, 2013), winner of the Bloom Nonfiction Chapbook Prize. She is a member of the creative writing faculty at Florida International University.

Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Stirring: A Literary Collection, Gutter Eloquence, Arts & Letters, Redactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.

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