when my grandmother jokes/ about getting me married to a boy/ who is fairer & smarter & definitely
taller than i can ever be,/ it is not a joke.
when i joke and ask her/ what if i was in love with a girl,/ it is not a joke either.
she adjusts her spectacles/ and laughs a hesitant laugh./ i laugh the same hesitant laugh, except mine/ is
more hesitance than laughter.
the day after dozens of queers were shot,/ my grandmother pointed to the newspaper/ and asked me
what happened./ she does not understand English/ but feels the necessity to label/ little glass bottles full
of spices/ only in English./ It is not her language/ of daily use/ but it has ruled over/ everyday she has
i tell her about what has happened/ and she stops eating when I say the word out loud, /‘gay’./ i stop
eating too./ she tells me she/ once knew a person ‘like that’./ i nod and resume eating,/ hoping i can
also swallow the lump/ that threatens to explode inside my throat./
I wonder who that person was,/ but I don’t ask.