On Learning My First Lover is Gay

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.

Kelly Cressio-Moeller’s poetry can be seen at Boxcar Poetry Review, burntdistrict, Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Poet Lore, Rattle, Southern Humanities Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and ZYZZYVA among others. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net. She is an Associate Editor at Glass Lyre Press. Visit her website at www.kellycressiomoeller.com