POETRY BY JADE ODDFebruary 23, 2019
ON REALIZING YOU’RE QUEER AT 38 (AND AT 42 YOU STILL DON’T QUITE KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS) BY PAULIE LIPMANFebruary 25, 2019
My sister Dresden was named after a place
That my dad calls “the city of the Arts.”
I have never been there.
To me, Dresden is a nine year old
who I promised to protect when I was nine
and she was as new as the tomorrow
I would always protect her from.
When she laughs, I forget that nights can be so dark.
In her city, it is always sunrise.
It is always morning.
If she was a city, all the travelers who walked her roads
would find themselves home after so many years
Her churches would only sing.
They would never tell people that they’re not going to Heaven
Around her, you’re already there.
Her city really would be a city of the arts because
She puts so much color into my life.
If I were a city, I think I would be my hometown.
The roads were set in the dirt by someone who didn’t know
That deserts are for wanderers, not homes.
People come and go, but mostly they go. That’s why there’s so many roads.
The churches mostly pray, and heaven… heaven is the stars.
You can see them clearly, but they are so far away.
Sometimes it’s easier to look down and forget them than to hurt
because they will always be out of reach.
In my city, it is not always night but it has been for a long time
and I am just waiting for the sun to rise.
I visit my sister’s city, but I don’t let her visit mine.
When I visit my hometown, I recognize the trails but not the faces
And there are places as foreign as strangers.
If Dresden walked my city’s roads, I would worry that she’d change.
There are roads in my city that once you go down, you don’t return the same,
And I never forgot my promise to protect her.
But someday, when she’s older, maybe she’ll wander,
and if she wanders,
if she is so far away from her city
that she doesn’t recognize the path she has taken,
if it is sunset and she can’t remember the way home,
our paths could meet like all paths do, in the end.
And when they do, we will walk down roads side by side,
and I will tell her everything I wish I could tell her now
but remember enough about being nine years old to hide away.
And my city will welcome her with open arms,
and the churches will sing,
and maybe, maybe,
the sun will rise.
Andy Winder is a transgender YA writer who recently graduated from Brigham Young University. He works as a technical writer at Waterford Institute by day while writing fiction and poetry in his spare moments. You can check out his work at andywinder.com