After the shock began to dissipate,
after you said you were leaving,
after you told me who it was,
I realized that you’d been waving
red flags in front of me for years
and didn’t even know it yourself.
Even when I had noticed something,
I’d been dishonest with the both of us.
Many times after you got dressed,
were wearing a certain color or pattern,
you would turn to me and ask,
not if those pants made you look fat,
but rather if they made you look gay.
Like a dyke, you would say to the mirror.
And then you would quickly change into
something you deemed more feminine.
Sometimes I’d laugh it off, or would try
to convince you that you looked perfect,
that I liked the look, slightly masculine,
androgynous. It’s obvious in hindsight.
Should one of us have been more honest?
Like when you came home from the salon
in tears because your hair was cut too short
and stood up spikey and you kept repeating
that you looked so butch now and sobbed,
and all I could say was how you looked so
beautiful and please, please, may I touch it.


Photo: Red flags by Rutger van Waveren