My mother is the kind of woman who keeps a spotless home —
weeds plucked, laundry folded, shoes packed away.
So, when I was 5 years old, she put on her rubber gloves —
tucked my gay parts inside me like she was clearing
stained dishes before a dinner party.
And I grew up ‘straight’, unaware of the little gay girl
I carried in my belly.
All this while she did not die —
she simply grew inwards,
like a droopy plant sitting in the shade.
Sometimes she pressed her cheek to my skin.
Other times I almost heard her scratching
Once, when marriage equality came on the news,
her feet tickled
the back of my throat.
But I ground my teeth and gulped her
And so, she eavesdropped on high school
sleepovers and conversations about boys.
When I had my first kiss, she made herself so small,
she nearly vanished completely.
Then, one day, after she’d been asleep for so long,
I met you.
My little gay girl started glowing through my skin —
and for the first time, I saw her in the mirror.
She morphed into a dozen lighted candles.
And my body, once vast and rolling,
folded itself into a flimsy lantern shell.
‘’Use your light to find your way home,’’ you whispered,
and when she was too scared to climb out on her own,
you went down there with her.
Held her hand and told her she didn’t need to stay
Last month, I saw my mother at a family reunion.
My little gay girl, now tall and blooming from all the
sunlight on her skin.
My mother recoils at the sight of her —
terrified to see someone she thought she’d long buried.
She curls her lip and calls her disgusting —
attempts to send her running back into my ribcage
so she can shut the door for good.
My little gay girl stays put,
her sundrenched limbs stretched across the table.
In this light, my mother is so much less frightening —
and my little gay girl is now a woman.
She looks my mother in the eye,
tosses her hair over her shoulder —
Follow @poemsbysuri on Instagram for more.