Looking back, a Communist rally had fewer red flags –
my gaydar, utterly underdeveloped, did not register
a single echo on its screen. Three decades later, an
easy Google search, and everything all made sense.
Like when I told him I loved him and he said,
Thank you, as if I held open a door or passed him
a creamer of milk. Or how I misconstrued his patience
and manners for gallantry. So helpless in his grasp
of Latin, never delighting in the complex folds and arches;
his timid and tentative tongue treating my clit like
an impossible all day sucker when I wanted to be
devoured to my sweetest center. If I had offered him
another dark place in my body, what then?
I mourn our suffered years and the countless orgasms
left unspent by the best bodies of our lives.
I imagine his discovery and shock trailed by relief then dread –
having to come out to his large Polish-Italian family, saddled
with Old World machismo. Somehow, I should have known.
Maybe when straight porn didn’t fire him tumescent or when
we drove out of town for a romantic weekend only to return
hours later as bile replaced butterflies. I should have run
for the fucking hills. But I stayed.
Because he was kind and sweet. Because we didn’t know better.
Now when I see his life on social media, I take notice
of two things: his face has not aged a minute, and my absurd
pleasure in seeing his longtime partner’s black hair and brown eyes
dark as mine.