How We’re Seen

by Dan Kraines

How can you write about queer poets,
you said, you’re not even queer
as if I were an arrow
in your quiver, as if I were dead
delphinium. You hated
that your doctor told you lose weight
and made you feel disgusted by your body;
in the afterlife, you will not bear your target,
and I will meditate on a cloud, painting my nails
above a desert, an auburn stretch stolen
from those who dreamed this fantasy
of where we exist. You lit up the morning
with your aura, like a moon
in day, connecting to each need; in photos,
I see the hospital lights glaring off
your head; scar of a metal rod in your leg;
but you are smiling. And I am opening
like the bark off white oak.

Dan Kraines holds a PhD in poetry from the University of Rochester. His dissertation is entitled “Queer Longing: Figuration in Rich, Lorde, Gunn, and Bidart.” Other poems of his have appeared in The Adroit Journal and The Normal School, among other places. He teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Artwork by: Danielle Rangel