by Emma McLaughlin ’20 – Creative Writing Contest Winner
Your stare menaces from across the bed
as I strain, choking on my words, to answer your questions.
In my silence, you make me feel disbanded,
shapeless without a label.
Some construction of letters, he/she/they,
for others to define me, ‘correctly’ discuss me.
I grip the bedsheets in fistfuls as if trying to dig deep
but find this same nothing; nothing secure, or conclusive
beside the ache that I can’t give you,
this shell you want to shroud me in.
I don’t understand why I owe you this.
I scramble to find the line separating what in my identity
I determine and what is outside of my control.
I can’t decide your thoughts, your inner judgments,
those are a sacred world of your own.
And you bar me from solely submitting respect to this world,
badger me to define your thoughts!
Where is the authenticity in this discussion of modern identity?
Why even in intimacy can’t I unfold myself organically?
Your prying questions, selfish curiosity masked as queer recognition,
causes any chance of budding identity to vanish completely
and my body to crumble, falling away from yours,
hit by bullets of inquiry entwined with accusation.
They shoot straight through me, reverberating off the walls,
leaving the room’s air thick with your crowding echoes.