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Talking about our histories during LGBTQ+ history month

By F Cade SwansonPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 1 min read
Conversations on Instagram
Photo by Marjan Grabowski on Unsplash

“We had a class on that,” he says.

A response to my suggestion

that he read David Feinberg,

maybe learn the term “AIDS clone.”

“Personal narratives are more powerful than history books,” I say.

Maybe hoping that he’d ask me about my story.

Maybe hoping that he’d read other stories.

Build bridges among the dead, the survivors, and those who came later.

I consider myself a survivor.

I consider myself a witness.

Even when looking was too hard to register

Or the world refused to see us





Even though HIV still runs through my veins.

I want him to know of a time

when queer women and dykes and lesbians

seemed to be the only ones who could see,

maternal hands when our own mothers rejected us,

holding us, wiping our tears, cleaning up our filth.

“They cared for us when no one else would,”

I tell him.

“We owe them so much.”

I want him to know of a time

When fags and queens and gay men and fairies

Took to the streets,

Demanding to be seen and heard and valued and acknowledged.

Demanding humanity and decency.

“We were so powerful,”

I tell him.

“Queer warriors fighting for one another.”

I pause.

“I think I saw an article on that,” he replies.

I pause.

And the moment is gone.

First published by HIV Here & Now Poem-a-Day Project for National Poetry Month 2020, Indolent Books, April 18, 2020

Republished in Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, The Grief Series: Anger. Issue 7.2, Summer 2021.

sad poetry

About the Creator

F Cade Swanson

Queer dad from Virginia now living and writing in the Pacific Northwest. Dad poems, sad poems, stories about life. Read more at fcadeswanson.com

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