As a boy, I resided in a nowhere of privacy.
Wrung my hands under the dinner table,
fretting about granddaughters and grandsons
I knew I’d never provide my parents.
As a teen, buddies cheered when I outfarted them
in my father’s muddy pickup, so bold in the parking lot
outside a roadside we were too young to enter.
What else was there? Masculinity a lesson,
narrow and determined as a bullet’s beeline.
I would’ve shot myself if I was “man enough.”
Instead, I grit my teeth. Resided in that nowhere
of privacy. If my disguise had a magic zipper,
I couldn’t reach it. My hands still under the table.
Somehow as a man, I found the pluck to ask,
What else is there? Bored with my palm,
with spying button flies, I wanted the ribaldry
of a roadside. To be rambunctious and muddy
as a pickup. Unlearning the legend of masculinity
in the arms of another man.
Michael Montlack is author of two poetry collections, most recently Daddy (NYQ Books), and editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). His poems recently appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, december, The Offing, Cincinnati Review, and Poet Lore. His prose has appeared in Huffington Post and Advocate.com. He lives in NYC.