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You know who you are.
Of course you do, you’ve always been you.
When you were young you never doubted this part of yourself, so, even if one of the alternatives seems more appealing, or even more accurate, it can’t be true.
You know who you are and you’ve always been- the same.

Maybe not with everything, people do change in some ways. When you were 5 you wanted to be a fairy. That’s changed. When you were 12 you had bangs, that’s changed.

But there’s some parts of you, that people say are so intrinsic and important that you keep that part of you with you as you grow up, it’s not just some accessory it is you.

And you grew up thinking you were straight.

The alternative never even made a guest appearance.

Sure, when you were 5 you wanted to kiss your best friend because hugs weren’t enough to show how much you loved her

And when you were 10 you spent a whole day panicking about wanting to kiss a different girl.

And when you were 11 you cooked a meal together and you thought you would be happy to marry her.

And when you were 12 you thought a girl had a crush on you. You were so happy. You decided you would say yes if she asked you out.

When you were 13 you wrote a love letter for English. You had to draft it addressed to She and Her, bc it felt more natural. Eventually switching the pronouns out for a simple "my love".

But you have alternative explanations for all of those.

They aren’t even alternative, they’re the original. The reconsideration of these events is new. It’s more of a reconstruction, a falsehood you built to believe a lie.

You’re dreaming.

And you’re sitting on the floor between two rows of seats in the auditorium. You’re laughing with Kelsie who sits next to you.

She grabs your hand and turns it over
Just to hold it
She runs her fingers over yours
Twirls it as she talks to you

"You know I used to have a crush on you," She says

And you can’t believe it
because you have a crush on her.
It’s obvious and clear as anything to you.
It’s secret and scary
And you tell her

"I used to have a crush on you"

The past tense makes it less scary,
less honest too
but that’s never been a problem with you

Her hand is still gliding around yours warm against your skin

The world feels like it’s building to something
Towards you being loved
In a way youve never considered possible
Towards loving someone

But the dream moves away

You wake up

That one’s only part fantasy.

In another world you could call the feelings you have for Kelsi a crush. You’ve had them since the day you met her 3 years ago, but in this world it’s not a crush.

It’s an "obsession" or at least that’s what you’ve always called it when there was a girl you wanted to always be around.
A girl you thought was so cool
And so good
Girls that made you feel alive

You felt that way about guys sometimes, to a lesser degree. But when it was a guy it was a crush, in this world. No air quotes. No doubt.
Anytime you even talked to a guy, it was a crush

The "obsessions" are weird, what kind of person has good friends and yet wishes they could hang out with someone else as well.

It’s a betrayal

What kind of person wants to be around someone else so much.

It’s creepy

It feels like a cheat to file away a personal flaw as evidence of your love.

It feels like your scraping away parts of yourself to build a case.

You’re making it up.

You’re dreaming

You’re putting away music stands at school, but it’s late at night. The air is electric with the oddity of your situation . The disconnect between the time and your location.

But really it isn’t much, you’re just cleaning up.
And you aren’t even alone in the dark.
There’s another girl
you don’t know her well, but you know her.
She has long black hair, and deep brown eyes.

Eventually you both stop
settle between the music stands
cross legged on the floor.
You talk

And it’s nice
and easy in a way that talking rarely is for you.

The music stands above you
form a cozy canopy of warm darkness

You’re nervous as always but it doesn’t seem to halt the conversation
You’re holding hands

You’re worried it’ll end,
you’ll mess up and end it,
but it doesn’t. It’s simple and easy and-

She kisses your cheek.

So you kiss hers

You look at her and she’s smiling.
If you’re anything but gaping,
You probably are too or maybe you’re too shocked

And she kisses you

You both
It’s soft and pleasant and sweet
And it’s good

And then you wake up

And ok
Ok, you can’t be making this stuff up right?
It’s subconscious at this point
That must mean you like girls,

-but why do you want to like girls so much? Why do you want to be gay? Isn’t it weird? Doesn’t that prove you aren’t ? Just hoping to be?

You’re just bored. If you were gay you wouldn’t even question it! It wouldn’t be a puzzle.
You wouldn’t need to recall dreams and tint old memories. It would be first nature!

Lots of your friends are queer,
They don’t seem to struggle with it
they make easy jokes and causal conversation about it
It is first nature for them.
They know!
They talk about how they always knew!

They made their barbies kiss when they were little
They stared at the pretty girls on the screen
They just knew

If you were really queer like them
You would’ve known like they did
You didn’t!
So you must not have been!
And you must not be
You know who you are.

Even if you can imagine a world where
Straight wasn’t the default
And in that world you would’ve grown up certain you liked girls
This isn’t thag world
And in this world it barely feels like an option

You write a whole piece and can’t even face it with the word "I"
it feels too real.
Too true
Like a lie
because this piece implies that you are gay you’re just doubting it
That’s the natural conclusion of the narrative
at least you think so
And you don’t feel qualified to claim that.

You certainly don’t know who you are

About this poem

It’s about questioning, and yeah. Messy free verse. Some of its more prose than verse. I wrote it.

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Submitted by ivy_j on September 11, 2021

5:36 min read


really good at haikus and tanka poems, loves to draw, loves anything dragon related more…

All Ivy poems | Ivy Books

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"Girls" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 24 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/109308/girls>.

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