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Poetry

Gordon Taylor

Gordon Taylor (he/him) is a queer poet who walks an ever-swaying wire of technology, health care and poetry. His poems have appeared in Prairie Fire, Plenitude, Tickle Ace, The Bridport Arts Prize Anthology, Months to Years, Five South, Open Journal of Art and Letters, and is forthcoming in Wire’s Dream.

ALL I EVER WANTED

It was an accident we wore
the same red gingham shirt

to our first tea, that Saturday
in the friendliest neighbourhood,

with the most expensive brie.
You bought a bag full, and it was fate

we believed, wearing the same red
shirt, walking hand in hand, late

summer sky like grey crumpled paper
and later we twinned on the plaid

flannel comfort of your bed, cigarettes
and ginger snaps. I used to have a dream

of a house with many wings and a man
and a dog but it was just to make me

love myself. My husband had a shining
magazine face and marriage was legal

in all countries and we never had to recover
from anything, especially not passion fading

into a horizon at the end of a weekend, red
gingham shirts still on the floor. I made you

a copy of me, listened to how you fought
being gay and I chanted a refrain

of I understand and held you in your inertia,
once my own, watched you jump

bravely over barrels in a video game,
acquiring coins and keys to unlock

a secret prize. We talked about first times
and hope in those two weeks of waiting

for HIV test results— back when
we thought the end of time couldn’t apply

to us— though the idea of eternity
is scary and the only finished life

is an unfinished one. You noticed
my eyes are so much darker

than yours and I stopped eating cheese
because of my swampy stomach.

You quit smoking and used the money
to buy clothes, joined a support group

for men coming out. I planted
sunflowers, learned they face each other

when there is no sun and turn away
when the weather is better.