Fam

I still think about it sometimes,
the day I was fired.
The owners had just cause
or so you said.
I was a kid,
expendable,
degenerate,
truthfully
you just didn’t like me.
What was it you said
I said?
“I hate gays.”
Then I threatened you
with a scissors,
not the knife
I always carry
because I know
what it’s like
to be a hated gay.
Family.
A word I learned
as I came out of the closet.
I learned in college.
I learned at Pride.
I learned in heartbreak.
I learned with the shock waves
of Orlando.
I learned through history:
The Stonewall Inn
The Up Stairs Lounge
Matthew Shepard
Rebecca Wight
Brandon Teena,
the list,
unfortunately,
goes on.

I was working two jobs
to support my family.
I left, enraged.
Our boss,
family,
cried.
Maybe because
so many acts of ill-will
against our family
come from the outside,
she never expected one
from within.
Were those tears
for me?
The wrongly accused.
Were those tears for you?
Such claims had to believed
even when they seemed
impossible.
Were those tears for her?
Because she believed.
Because she didn’t believe.

Truthfully,
the details don’t matter.
What’s done is done
and there’s no going back.
What weighs in my mind
and in my heart
is how many others
suffered your wrath?
What led you down this path
to stab your own family
in the back?
How can we expect respect
from those who don’t understand
when we can’t even
respect each other?
There are enough people
holding us down,
quieting our voices,
telling us we are wrong.
Shouldn’t we support
those we call family?

© AUtumn Siders 2018
Fam

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