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  • Writer's pictureqmwproject

Your Sorrow is Not Your Own, by Angela Harger

What can you do when your bone-deep sorrow

is turned against you by the very ones

who covenanted to mourn with those who mourn?

When they promise with open arms, “All are welcome here!”

but in the next breath, cling with rapt attention to every

poison word hurled at you from grandfatherly men who,

in their careful measured tones, steal your very breath

from your aching body.

“All” you know, is not all. All is certainly not you,

with your manly haircut, your refusal to stay quietly married

to an abusive man, and your rainbow tattoo

worn as a protection to remind you that

you have worth to someone.

Your sorrow is not your own.

You cannot claim it, cannot speak it.

Because when you do, it will be slipped between your ribs

and twisted into platitudes about how your wickedness,

your audacity to even imagine you could be you,

never was happiness.

So you remain silent.

Apologetic for existing,

queer in a space where queer can’t abide.

Desperate for the healing balm that was promised you

at the feet of everyone who nurtured you,

the foundling queer child, the serpent in their midst.

Tears remain unshed while your heart breaks.

Their thin, uncomfortable smiles of false welcome

doing more harm than outright rejection, because

maybe, just maybe, someone will throw you a bone,

a fragment of love for you. For your queer self -

and not just the woman they raised you to be.

But for now you wait with your sorrow

hanging like a talisman between you.

Your sorrow is not your own.

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