• March 4, 2020

    Touchstones: UVU's Journal for Literature and Art — 3rd Place Poetry Fall 2020

    “Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible
    with the honor code.”
    -Paul V. Johnson

    Commissioner, Church Educational System

     

    Blue walls, blue carpet and blue chairs in the office
    Run by counseling and psychological services.
    I sit, wearing a different college’s t-shirt, asking you if you’re
    Going to be okay. you say you’re not sure, and i realize
    How foolish we all were. our hope proved damaging.
    As if they’d really let the gay students date,
    Make an exception to their orthodoxy.

     

    You kissed me only five days earlier,
    Our lips locked in a driveway while our heartbeats synchronized.
    Until then that school hadn’t entered my mind.
    Never thought about the shackles, the anxiety, the
    Ground troops searching for the wrong people holding hands.

     

    Until silence demands your loyalty, you never
    Notice. i did not care for the quiet suffering until
    I fell into it, in love with a student sworn to secrecy.
    Vows made in a two week gap between implicit permission and
    Explicit rebuke. learned the power of words that can shatter,
    Rot, singe, and burst. the pain that can drip from a sentence.
    Somewhere, there’s a moment of silence for stars gone black.
    In the back, someone pulls out a megaphone.
    Transfer! transfer! transfer!
    You tell me this bitterly. i hold your hand.

  • Photo by Calvin J. Burke.