by Dayna Patterson

Our mothers swap recipes for tuna asparagus casserole
and co-preside over the Christian Ladies Society.
Our dads suit up in their woodland camo,
hunt white-tailed deer, fish, drink,
watch football on our giant flatscreen.
Their family sits in the front right pew at church.
We sit on the left. If Momma
isn't on watch, I can lean back slightly
and see the sun make a shaft of light
like an arrow, pointing,
Here, here is your love.
I don't need arrows, though.
When I look at that velvet hair, that olive skin,
those eyes like chocolate buttermilk pie—
the flush of heat
is enough.

I'm pretty sure if Momma found out
she'd put a shotgun to my head.
She'd tell me (again) what I've heard
a million times at church:
God Hates Fags.
We still have a dozen or so of those signs.
I helped paint them.
Now they're in the crawl space
where I wish they'd stay.

We kissed once. It didn't feel dirty.
More like the gentle press
of prayer hands. She likes lunar astronomy,
and we're both crazy for Shakespeare. She quoted me some.
I feel easier in my skin when she's near,
but then I imagine looking into the barrel
of Momma's 12 gauge,
and I can't help but think
our kind of love
is star crossed.

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