If he were to appear here suddenly
I suspect Shakespeare would
be running a small theater group
in Brooklyn catering to an audience
drawn mostly from the LGBTQ
community, alternating productions
of gays and lesbians with Trans
and gender fluid having free choice
to reflect their true selves and not
in the roles genetics cast them.
If you asked him why, he’d say
that it was all Elizabeth’s fault, her
rule all roles were to be played
by male actors, no Joseph Fiennes
to set the old girl straight, a Puckish
way of putting it he’d admit, and
is it any wonder that a damned Scot
took the throne on her death,
he would add as a bellicose Falstaff,
she was a shilling short of a pound.
Strange as it may seem,
I was tempted to consider
Catholicism, not the Roman kind
but that of the breakawy churches
who accept all, gay or straight,
married or divorced, the whole
lot of mankind just because.
They do believe in heaven
which is a good alternative
to the Bardo, and having choices
is a good thing even in death.
I was truly tempted to give
it my all when I realized that
it was problematic, for it had
led me into temptation and that
is something you pray doesn’t happen,
and if I want a conundrum
Buddhism offers me plenty.
Just outside town
in the old dump is
a slab of concrete
its twisted edges pierced
by rusting rebar
once the floor
of the gazebo in the commons.
Etched into its surface
Jim + Marie
Janet Loves Eddie.
Their loves were undying
cast into stone to wear
slowly through the ages
not to fall victim
to the jackhammer.
Jim lies under
the simple stone
“Sgt. U. S. Army
Marie left for college
but came home,
a nurse at the Community Hospital
now divorced with two daughters.
Eddied married Sue,
three times runner up
for homecoming queen
and lives in a trailer
by the county line.
Janet waits tables
in the coffee shop
at Caesar’s Palace while
her husband, whom she met
at the truck stop,
deals blackjack in the casino.
Their son lives in San Francisco
with his lover, but
they haven’t spoken to him
in more years
than they can remember.
The old gazebo was replaced
years ago by the giant
steel play gym.
First published in Green Silk Journal, Spring 2020
The question you will be called upon
to answer requires careful thought,
but you will be forced to respond.
Would you rather live the rest
of your life in Lilliput or Brobdingnab?
It may seem rather silly, for neither
is likely to occur, but that is not the point
and you cannot avoid responding.
Of course you will have to read
Swift, but you ought to do that anyway
and there, if you pay attention, you
see your own world and your
relationship with it, and you will see
others who look vaguely familiar.
So there you have your midterm exam
denizen of Lilliput or Brobdingnab,
and no, you cannot answer with
“because I’d be a giant among midgets,”
or “because I’d stand out as a midget
in a world where all around me are giants”
because no matter how you choose
you’ll be black in a white world, gay
in a straight one, or a woman in our world.