Chained and dressed in women’s clothes
before Army officials dragged you down
dusty village roads—hardly a 4th Century
Pride parade—for sustaining your selves,
and your vows, closet Christians refusing
to bow. Spectators expecting Jupiter’s
thunderbolt to strike the temple floor—
Bacchus, forgive us if we try to forget
the torture you endured, wondering instead
if you were named after the jolly winemaker
with a hard-on for Adonis. Retelling ourselves
that tender part of the legend when your spirit
consoles Sergius with a promise to reunite.
(Only after they’d come to take his head.)
But rest assured, boys. You remain adored,
your brave love iconic, well preserved.
Scholars be damned! Let them say
what they will. We’ve already married you—
to each other and ourselves—seeing far
beyond the fury to your furry calves
and battered ankles glistening in the sun
below those muddied, tattered hems.
Michael Montlack is the author of the poetry book Cool Limbo (NYQ Books) and the editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). Recently his work appeared in North American Review, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, Cortland Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly. He lives in NYC.