I May Not Be Flaming But I Know Heat

"Duplexes for whatever is the antonym of coming out," poetry by Heejae Cho

I May Not Be Flaming But I Know Heat

Duplexes for whatever is the antonym of coming out

When I said full homo, I was 
            lying. I just meant I loved you. 

I lied, saying I just loved you. 
            There was no such thing as just love. 

There is no such thing as just love from me — 
            I’ve heard that every love out of a queer body is a queer love. 

I don’t know if every love out of my queer body is a queer love. 
            After all, how queerly should I love my mother who does not believe in bisexuals? 

I love my mom though she doesn’t believe in bisexuals. 
            Does your mother know now? Of your homosexuality.
If your mom knew of your homosexuality 
            we wouldn’t have been able to squeeze onto your daybed past midnight. 

I woke from your daybed, squeezed next to you, watching the aftermath of a sleepover in all 
            our friends across the floor. How I loved you all. How unqueerly I loved you girls. 

How I loved you. So unqueerly, and so much. 
            Then, what mattered most was sure of itself. Demanded it be loved with no shame. 

My mother’s love is so sure of itself. I do not shamelessly demand more of             
            what is already cast in its own infinity. She says I smell like the wind. 

Our friendship is cast in its own infinity, smelling of sand and salt and wind. Forever 
            Arizona kids turning fifteen, fossilized in that field trip to California. 

In my mind, you still turn fifteen, turn into summer. But we’ve left Arizona. Turned nineteen.
            My mom still blesses me every morning, asking for love in my life. 

My mother prays: Let my child be normal and be loved normally. 
            She doesn’t even consider wishing for my heterosexuality. 

I never considered wanting to be straight. 
            In queerness, I am more like you. 

In queerness, I am often lost. I am so unlike you. 
            And I am still a bad queer. Don’t ask me what I’m afraid of. 

I was a bad queer before I even knew I was one, when I was afraid of nothing.             
            So I said I love you, full homo. The multiple of zero is still zero. 

I don’t say that anymore. The quotients of infinity are still infinity. 
            I may not be a flaming homosexual but I know heat now. 

Our love may not have been homosexual, but I know it’s warm where you were. 
            I just wanted to say I love you. No homo.

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