Poem 210 ± December 31, 2015

CJ Southworth
An Explanation

when I let the guy go down on me
in the darkness behind the bar
while you were inside
talking with your friends
knowing what was going on

when I yelled at you
because I was tired of hearing
how loving a man was a curse
and I told you
that some of us were perfectly happy

when I went home with men some nights
and let them touch me
in the darkness of my studio loft
when I let some of them move in
and tried to build lives with them

when I told you I couldn’t talk to you anymore
that I couldn’t take another round
of you being with someone else
couldn’t stand to see you loving someone
who wasn’t me

all those times, in all those moments,
that was me in love with you
and trying to stop the hurt of loving
someone who didn’t love me back—
to fill the space inside my life
that was shaped like my fantasies of you

CJ SouthworthCJ Southworth was born Carlton D. Fisher in upstate New York. Under his birth name, he has published poems with Assaracus, Paterson Literary Review, Main Street Rag, Lips, and many other journals. His fiction appears in Glitterwolf magazine. In 2015, he began the process of legally changing his name to honor his mother and maternal grandparents, who raised him. Under his new name, he has won the 2015 Allen Ginsberg Award and published fiction with Jonathan. He is the Owner and Executive Editor of Jane’s Boy Press and teaches as an Assistant Professor in the English Department at SUNY Jefferson.

This poem appeared on the Tupelo 30/30 blog for December 2015.