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Selected Work

Faded Shapes


So here we are at the gap—where I’ve mapped it out more times than I can count, where I’ve played out the scenarios, like some word problem I’m desperate to understand. I just want an answer because I don’t know who it could have been if it wasn’t him. If it wasn’t him, it could have been anyone. John or Alex or Rob or Connor or any of the guys who never told me their names. I don’t think I’ll ever know.


Can you see the cavity in my story? There’s this checkbox answer that remains empty. And while I tell myself it doesn’t matter, I know that it does. I’m standing on the edge of something I’ll never be able to scale.


She tells me about how those flu-like symptoms are evidence that my body tried to save me—my body tried to save me—my body tried overheating, pressurizing, contracting, expanding, cracking, crafting walls with cells like bricks on sand to hold the infection at bay, and I feel some kind of warmth like butter beneath my skin because it's another beautiful thing, isn't it.




My therapist says this is common for many gay men and women who didn’t come out in their teenage years. Instead of searching for self-discovery and identity in middle school, we play this game in our twenties.

When I told her this makes sense, seeing as I’m twenty-seven and just now figuring out that I like to wear brightly colored scarves and tight vests instead of graphic tees and zip-up hoodies, she smiled. She told me there’s no shame in my age of exploration, but I still feel like I’m coming late to the world.


Suppose you are young, perhaps ten, and there is a boy sitting across the classroom. Suppose you don’t notice how much you notice him. Suppose it comes to you like sand beneath waves, slowly burying your toes—inch by microscopic inch.


Suppose you notice the way he moves two fingers across his eyebrow in some effort to smooth down the hair. Suppose you see him as if transparently, tempered glass: hardened. Imagine that the way you stare at him with increasing tension makes you feel unsure. Maybe he bites his lip too hard and blood covers his teeth. He raises a hand and asks to go to the bathroom. He passes you as you grip your hands together beneath your desk as if in prayer. You don’t realize it yet, but you have transformed.




I can hear my heart pumping blood through my veins, down to my fingers intertwined with his. I can feel the reverberations of our muscles contract together. I can see in a way that I never have before, when the world drops away and all that is left is me and him. Our hearts. Our souls. The emptiness filling us. The space of the world close enough to touch.




I slide from his skin, watch myself peel back

the layers: sinew, marrow, vein, bone,

until all that’s left is laced fingertips and

a catch in my throat when he doesn’t let go—




His teeth left dents

in my wrist. Overexcited,

he claimed.

But in a dark room,

he sleeps,

and I'm awake.

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