And not just queer as in a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or gender binary,
Not even simply queer as in strange or odd from a conventional standpoint-
I mean queer as in of a questionable nature or character.
Queer as in
Out of the Big Three of sexuality,
I never felt that any one fit me, but like
an uncomfortable label there was this feeling
scratching at me: I didn’t have a label.
I could never figure out
who I was attracted to (or if there was a
who to figure out at all) and while
everyone else had done it for themselves,
they couldn’t help me.
Knowing everybody had found, understood, and
prized this piece of themselves that interlocked
perfectly with their lives, and as many terms I’d
experimented with like paint samples, there was
always a shade of doubt so that no color matched me
I mean queer as in bad, worthless, or counterfeit.
Queer as in
I found myself in an obscure,
whispered term that was perfect
in resources and in my life, but not
in the sex-saturated world or the sex-saturated community.
I found myself hoping more than anything that I
would not only meet a girl but
meet one who didn’t just want a hookup,
finding nothing but disappointment in the world
I’d anticipated joining for so long, and eventually
making up excuses for skipping pride events.
I found myself shimmying into place
to belong, and feeling somewhat jammed in
but slowly adjusting to the pressure.
No matter how familiar, though,
pressure always remains uncomfortable.
I mean queer as in not physically feeling right or well.
Queer as in
Have you seen the commercials with scantily clad women
And shirtless men used to move product because everybody
Will buy spontaneously based on elevated levels of hormones?
Or the one where the man treats his salad like he can have sex with it?
Have you seen the groups of teenage boys and girls
discussing their significant others and sexual exploits
(with their significant others or not) and giggling
as though it means absolutely nothing?
Have you ever seen someone looking determinedly away
While those commercials play? Seen anyone blush
When everyone chatters? Me.
I’ll never quite understand why the jokes are funny,
Why the acts are appealing, and I’ve heard people
Whisper behind my back that I’m awkward or abnormal.
No, I want to say,
Moira Armstrong is a junior at Howland High School, where she enjoys stressing over honors classes and extracurriculars. Her favorite is the speech and debate team, where she competes in original oratory and serves as president. In her very limited free time, she likes to color, volunteer, and, of course, write. Her work has also been published in two Creative Communications Poetry Collections, Blue Marble Review, and The Asexual Journal, and is forthcoming in After the Pause.