I let go of the longing When I was a boy, When I was a girl. I let go of the longing When I turned twelve, When my father shook the two-spirit From me, tearing off me my dress-up clothes Into tatters, demanding that I tell him What it was I had between my legs. Even though I knew what it was, I did not want to say it out loud, For fear the word would make it too real, Would wrangle out of me the lovely fiction I had created for myself, dressed in multicolored Crinolines, like fairy dust against my nubile legs. Threw away my satin and chiffon evening dress, My too-big high-heeled shoes that let me walk In a slight recline to feel tall all at the same time. I lost touch with my feminine side and sent It packing along with my sister’s Tressy doll That had been all mine for longer than it had Ever been hers to claim. No more makeup or Rhinestone jewelry, no more dressing up, No more hairdressing my mother’s locks. Everything “she”got sent packing, hiding of my own Free will—(or as much free will as I imagined then), Locked away in cupboards without doors. At the end of the loveliest, longest, most luxurious Summer day in a boy-girl’s life, the universe she knew Came to a mournful halt. No last rites, no eulogy. Imagine the psychological dirge a child observes At the primitive loss of a secret held too close.
About the Poet:
Tobias Maxwell is the author of two novels, Thomas (semi-finalist Lambda Awards 2003) and The Sex and Dope Show Saga; a novella, And Baby Makes Two, three memoirs, 1973—Early Applause, 1977—The Year of Leaving Monsieur and 1983—The Unknown Season; and a poetry collection, Homogium. His short story, The Appointment, was in the fall 2018 issue of Worlds Magazine available online. His articles have appeared in Balita and Mom…Guess What newspapers, LA Edge, Art & Understanding, New Century and The California Therapist magazines. His one-act play, The Mary Play, was republished in 2014 by Black Lawrence Press in Art & Understanding: Literature from the First Twenty Years of A&U.