the morning after Pride
For me: blood's birth, but bones are fam.
Goes beyond not wanting children. Beyond jettisoning
helixes that mirror mine if they don't make the cut,
any bad seed with similar capillary fluid.
Nothing's what I'm missing. I've got extra cells,
even, my osteoblasts working long hours
building that shit since I found fam. It's a glance
across a bar, every high five in the streets, every wait
to make sure homo has someplace to crash, a way
to get there, get there safe. Every sequin freak in pasties
or a Speedo or a corset – or all three – knows safe's
no guarantee. In us, bones-deep pull of You Are Here,
You Are Home. Oh. Marrow hits a pitch
only bent pick up. Fam sweat smells like flags dragging
through mud, left to dry on a snaggletooth roof
in a stiff wind. Every kinked soul tied up to a fence,
smashed up in a jail, shot up in a club, or worse,
blade or rope or pills from the inside places: my bones ache
something fierce. Never cried at a biology funeral.
Monster. We make fam with our revolting bodies, we knit
together, salt hands tight as we shout cry love rage
dance, no matter who wants us dead, even
when we pen the threats ourselves. It's easy to harden;
the bone ghosts lay with us. This tenderness might
save me. This life might get me killed but I'll go down
kicking, hot mess of calcium and collagen
and matrix rhythms, all snarled. How we fracture's
how we heal. How we keep slipping's why we grip on.
Betsy Housten is a Pushcart-nominated queer writer and massage therapist. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Lonesome October, Ghost City Press, Cold Creek Review, Terse Journal, Cotton Xenomorph, Vagabond City, Bone & Ink Press and elsewhere. She lives in New Orleans, where she pursues her MFA in poetry and tweets @popcorngoblin.