WHEN I WAS STRAIGHT
There was a man in the moon
& a man at the head of the table.
There was a woman with a dishrag
draped across her narrow shoulder.
Sometimes they were on television,
& the laugh track softened their features,
made me long for them like a summer’s cool rain.
In that first world, the man always drove,
& the woman always read a magazine—
Good Housekeeping or Better Homes & Gardens.
The woman did not know how to work
the lawnmower, & the man did not know
how to work the microwave. They were hesitant
& grateful in the presence of each other’s bodies.
When Isee them now, I am too old to be mistaken
for their daughter. The women no longer smile,
pat my hand, promise the right man is soon to
come along. The men do not whistle or nod.
Even the sky grows distant, the new moon turns charcoal
against gray. “It’s getting dark out,” the couples say,
& draw the doors closed, leading to the master bedroom.
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 chapbooksBlink 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.