Under the Same House

I felt like a rootless tree when I came out,

deprived of a family or history I could connect with,

Homeless under so many shaded steps down–

held in contempt by the New queer communities that have arisen from what little

they could gather of the old, and from all of this terrifyingly new, half-erased stuff.

I imagined myself held in contempt by the older generations, or I held them in some contempt,

and I guess it was really fear that told me I did not want to meet my family because my family had been beaten,

my family’s voice was not as loud as the rest of the letters and

that was the reason why at the hospital none of the doctors or the emts on the ambulance I rode in on knew how to

help me–but that was a different country already, my little microcosm of a past.

My family was not letters. It was not the letter T printed on a pamphlet or manual

to show inclusion at a convention full of giggling children who were for the first time saying and laughing, “it’s okay to be gay.”

I was not exactly them.

I could not configure.

I knew the letter of my House was T, and beyond the emblem–which I championed, playing the hero, on my own, tilting at Smith College–I knew next to nothing.

I wanted so much to meet the trans women before me, and I did, at a party once in the summer, when I had combat boots on

A mullet out of the

Refusal to cut my hair into a traditionally femme shape out of the ever-consuming fear I had, of erasing what little microcosmic

Queer history I could preserve of my story, her story.

But at the time I never asked the two or three older women any one thing important.

It was too early, I was still afraid of their ability to reject me

Of making crying happen between us, if they wanted to share with me what was reality

In their time.

Of seeing the perhaps-pride in their eyes that I and they and we were still here,

Roots and weed-mistaken saplings,

Not yet pulled out

Under the same House.


By Calliope Wong, Contributer

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