No Asterisk by L.G.

No Asterisk

It was a six-needled asterisk above our heads: race, class, gender identity, immigration status, distance, and one more that’s harder to place

The distance I never minded, because we emailed empathy, Skyped seduction, texted tenderness and phoned in flirtation

You crafted me couplets about red violets and blue roses, blue states and red states, and how when you were in a blue state I made you red

I read the fourth Harry Potter aloud to you at two in the morning, feeling you listen like the lilting, crackling lull of a goblet of fire

I lay on my stomach on my bed, Skyping with you, and you did the same thing and told me it was like we were lying in bed together

And later when we really did, in the same starry city, it wasn’t the same

Up on the big screen in Times Square, where we kissed for the first time on England’s New Year because we wouldn’t be together for America’s, you pointed out to me the Happy New Year message written in your language, “chúc mừng năm mới”

And to you I pointed out “shanah tovah”

And sometimes it seems like in our conversations since then you forgot to switch back from Vietnamese and I forgot to switch back from Hebrew

When I took you aside our last night together, and whispered in your ear, “for now, can we just forget all this,” you told me, unsmilingly, “we can put it aside, but we can’t forget,” only put it aside you never did

If only you had

You would sit beside me and kiss my tear-sprained, pride-stained cheeks, and sing Ingrid Michaelson to me on Valentines Day instead of to the tumblrverse

But

There is no asterisk at the end of a relationship, referencing some footnote on what exactly went wrong

 

I don’t want you to suffer

I don’t want you to pull all the blankets over your head like you did in the hotel when everything was too much

Or like I did when I sat sobbing in the gender-neutral bathroom

But I don’t want you to succeed as much as you are

To be actually better off without me

What does that make me?

I am so much worse without you

Poem by L.G.

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