You have to learn how to wrestle
alligators before using a ruler
to measure sadness —
the Everglades are no joke.
We spent that summer floating on our backs
in that lake behind her house. Her mother
always told us to watch out for gators,
but we were never worried because we knew
gators weren’t so different from us.
Gay girl and gators have four chambered
hearts and tell-tale eye-shine. We roam Florida
lazy and don’t fight first, but no one wants to find us
in their backyard. Or their front porch.
Or their drive-ways on Friday nights
or living rooms when prom swings around
or at the dining room table for family dinner
or sleeping next to their youngest daughters.
Kindergarteners learn how to run zigzags
from gators so they can’t be seen,
but queer kids grow tough skin:
an armored back, bony plates called scutes.
BIO Jaclyn Grimm lives in Orlando, FL. Her writing is forthcoming in The Washington Post and has been published in the Adroit Journal, decomP, and Teen Vogue, among others. She currently serves as a prose reader for the Adroit Journal.