you are smiling
in that photo of you two days after
your eighteenth birthday.
you are wearing that black striped shirt,
the one you like to button up all the way,
call it
style.

you catch a ride to that one gay bar in your hometown for the first time,
that god forsaken place in texas where the
(white) husband in cowboy hats and that (white) wife you saw at the grocery store
take pilgrimage on weekends.

It’s called Halo:
that club,
that dance move,
that act of devotion:

her hands in
her skirt (finger through the bible, find
your favorite verse)
his lips
on his dick
(in Him, amen or:
let’s speak in tongues)

and they forgot to mention that it will feel the same for you:
your first southern church service/
your first time at a gay club
enraptured bodies
always at
a distance

remember
the man hanging on the wall,
the porn on your computer:
these white bodies
we are taught to
bend our knees for.

//

and you wore that same shirt
and you wore that same smile
and you wore that same skin
and you catch a ride to that one gay bar in your homeland, that
god forsaken place in india, and for
the first time in your life you
brown, you
beautiful, you
holy.

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