Walls

Poem by Miriam Sachs

Who is your type?
Brown hair. Blue eyes.
Body long, thin,
arms muscular,
a smile that doesn’t take up too much of the face and looks wicked, dangerous.

She likes her men tall,
tall and intelligent,
preferably with glasses.
A gentlemanlike door-opening, please-and-thank-you boy
who takes birthdays seriously and knows all of your favorite flavors.

They laugh about this,
passing my laptop back and forth to look at celebrity photos.
Who is the perfect boy?
The quintessential embodiment of everything they want in a man.
We look at boys with short hair, boys with long hair, boys with irregularly long and distracting torsos, boys in suits, boys with their shirts off, boys with every shape of smile,

I am getting tired. It’s not that their faces aren’t aesthetically pleasing. They are. I just don’t know how much longer I can keep pretending to be interested in, well...

I have no comment, so I just laugh with them.

It’s a type of elongated discouragement.
It’s about silence,
it’s about a little alone.

I am reserved, empty of words, and I feel strange.
I don’t have a say or if I did I don’t know what I would say.
I can’t tell whether it’s their fault for not asking, trying to include me,
or my fault for not volunteering.

It doesn’t feel like a desert or barren wasteland
but more like love is hibernating again. Taking a long nap.
I plucked it once from cloud and ocean foam
but it went with the water cycle eventually.

I’ll have to wait.
​I’m good at waiting.

I think if I tried hard enough I could salvage an inch of sand to dig one big toe in.
I could twirl in one square foot of dance floor.
I think if I tried hard enough I could spare a sideways glance,
compliment her jacket,
perform cartwheels in one word,
receive nothing back but politeness.

If I wanted to,
if really hard I made myself believe it was the thing to do,
I could even tell her she is sun drop, stunning,
but it wouldn’t keep her head from nodding,
the familiar trope,
the same lift and back again.
There’s no chance for love here.
Not in the fourth year between these hallways.

I’ll have to wait.
I’m used to waiting.

Maybe the college I attend will have room on its campus
for more than seventeen gay people, all confused,
​all vaguely dissatisfied.

There is something about how it isn’t mentioned,
how nobody speaks,
how it hides in corners.
How grey and mechanical,
how ignored,
how tiny but how it should be massive,
how it wants to be enormous, how it is curving and radiant and
waiting
waiting
waiting.

while you’re expelled from entire conversations just by default
even though the dialogue you really want to have
seems to have stayed home with a sore throat,
even though love is the whole universe to you,
tangible even, constructed from every color and hovering like a divine thunderstorm
trapped in a wooden box.

It is not found.
There isn’t even a chance of finding.
There are only seventeen fish in this sea.
You are stuck. On the outside of a glass bowl.
Partially involved in your own coma.

Love used to be simple, winged, dreamlike and fluttering.
Brushing up against shards of pebble and dust.
But lately I’ve noticed this modest quiet,
this courteous suppression,
this lie by omission.

Isolating, the way a single scoop of ice cream sits
still sweet but not in a cone, in a cup.

And I love liking her.
I am glad I am this and not something else.
I just wish it was normal,
accepted,
to talk about the way she walks and what she wears and how she smiles and whether
she was smiling at me
even if you, my friend,
don’t see her that way.
Even if it isn’t your everyday anecdote.
​Even if it’s just a little queer.

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​Miriam is a Literati Fellow with Get Lit – Words Ignite.
Check out more about Get Lit HERE and ​read more about Miriam in Simon & Schuster’s Get Lit Rising, available for pre-order HERE!

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