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  • i.


    Some would be slaughtered

    or burned like kindling

    others garroted. Hunted.

    bashed against cement.

    Still. Some survived.

    The fists. The knives. The guns.



    ii.


    We hid in monasteries.

    in theaters. acting as women.

    we penned your poems

    masked our love as her

    we painted your frescoes

    your angry God

    your beautiful Virgin

    we sculpted your heroes

    David. Hercules. Achilles

    writhing muscled men

    our lovers. Disguised.




    iii.


    But still you hated us

    you staked our hearts

    you tried to slay us

    with silver bullets

    with your crucifixes

    you mashed our brains

    monsters. you called us

    freaks. faggots.



    iv.


    when we saw your mob

    with pitchforks. Torches.

    we fled into the woods

    into that womb of darkness

    we hid our faces. Silenced

    Amid the owls. The moths

    We danced on moonlit nights



    v.

    You effaced us from history

    those records of deceit. Plunder!

    A parenthetical. An ellipsis.

    We existed. Only between the lines.

    Our graves unmarked. Our dead

    Unmourned. Vandalized. Mute.



    vi.


    One day. Though our voices

    were shaking. Hesitantly.

    We followed the breadcrumbs.

    The trails. Our ancestors left.

    We returned into the dappled light

    No longer in gloom. In shadows.

    We unschackled our tongues.

    We spoke our truths. Trembling.

    We knew. We had won.

    Despite the terror. The centuries.

    We survived. We still love.

    (photo courtesy of Randy Robert Potts)
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