My brain says
It’s no one’s business
But my own

Why do I need
To tell everyone
Their assumptions
About me are

Why should I need
To announce
I’m queer
Not straight

Why can’t I simply
Live my life
Love who I love
With no need of

On the surface
That path should be
Completely reasonable

My sexuality
Is my business
The only other
Who needs to know
Someone I have not met

My heart says
I can’t move beyond

If I’m afraid to claim
The truth of who I am
If I’m afraid of
Needing to explain

Forty-thee years of denying
Forty-three years of hiding
Not just from them
But even harder
To comprehend
From myself

That’s the question
I don’t want to answer
How could I
Live my life
So completely

To be someone
I never have been

Rather than being
The me
The world around
Said was sinner
Hated by God

So I hid
So deep
In such darkness
It took
Forty-three years
To find my way back
To myself

But I am still afraid


One Choice

Artwork in photograph by Kelly Rae Roberts

of not belonging
lesson learned in childhood
stepping outside
the expected path
will leave you
your longed-for blue
five speed bicycle
returned and no place
for you
at the family table
you understand the story
of your past
daily seeking a new path
of faith that belongs
to you
despite the inherent
familial tension
springing from
choice made necessary
to survive
with soul intact
freedom found
in learning to listen to
your body
your heart
your soul
reveals stories
buried deep
hidden from all eyes
even your own
your truth denied
in the world
you grew in no
other possibility existed
never imagining
your reality could be
so entirely different
from the life
you learned to live
hiding brokenness
never healed
blamed on fear
of always being
on the outside
now you have
family of choice
circle of belonging
sense of community
rarely experienced before
but they don’t know
your truth
closeted away beyond
even your own gaze
childhood terror steals
your breath
your words
when you ponder
revealing the truth
you’ve now begun to own as
My Truth
fear of exclusion
losing your place
in the circle of trust
you’ve struggled to find
will they feel betrayed
is there possibility
of understanding
in the midst of
your bewilderment
forty-three years
of hiding your truest self
so far away
you didn’t understand
all your efforts would
never fix you
the core wasn’t broken
you were just queer
trying desperately to live
an expected straight life
not your own
the dilemma you face
explore your truth
loudly and proudly
risking the place
you’ve finally found
hoping you still
keep the life
you’ve built
stay quiet, hidden
pretending contentment
losing yourself
bit by bit
slowly dying inside
only one choice
for living exists
simple survival insufficient
fullness of life
once glimpsed
must be embraced
even if cost leads to
fear realized