One of the things I regret the most
is going back to my place at three A.M. after Pride Fest
lying on the mattress next to him,
this boy who said he felt comfortable around me,
his voice, a string of lights lining the bed,
and this is when I remembered I loved him,
my body a finger on a hairpin trigger,
worried something would go off if he even touched me,
but we both passed out,
And I was finally able to sleep for an entire night,
this boy, the night light in my bedroom,
a tense, tight calm.

I remember falling in love with this boy four years ago,
after only a week together at Badger Boys State.
Boys around us talked about politics and law firms.
But we talked about electronic pop music
and cross country races
and what we are running from and towards,
and it felt like we had our own language,
made of the beat of feet slapping the earth,
my heart sprinting every time I saw him.

I remember that night we danced for six hours straight at Pride Fest,
and I told four different middle-aged men he was my boyfriend
so they would leave us alone, a warning shot,
this boy was already taken.
I remember his face, a laugh,
a tightening in my chest like every moth was pushing against their cage
to reach the light reflecting from his smile.

I remember hugging him goodbye in the morning
and it feeling like waiting for the bass to drop in one of our songs
waiting for a firing squad, waiting,
only to be met with a mouth of silence
and the hum of a car idling in a cafe parking lot.

In the morning, he called his girlfriend
and said, “I love you.”

To love a straight boy is to love like a revolver,
every now and again,
he will pull the trigger,
when he asks about how Sirius and Lupin were in love,
when he tells you to check out this queer punk band he found,
when he sends you a picture of him in a dress for Rocky Horror
this is proof that none of the chambers are loaded, right?

Wonder just how dangerous it is to play this game with him.
When he offers you the gun,
your heart races faster than any sprinter,
your mind plays out the scene it finds most likely to occur,
which is you place the barrel against your chest,
spin the chambers,
feel it fire like a question mark,
your heart dies the slowest death,
like a runner shot with a starting pistol,
to love a straight boy is to love an oval track,
an infinite loop of hope and ache,
but it always ends the same,
with a starting line and a gun
and the fear that one of us will go off,
an endless cycle.

I remember practicing every day
for the Badger Boys cross country race,
I could’ve left this boy alone,
but we both tied for last
because I couldn’t leave him behind.

I remember falling in love with this boy four years ago,
and I still can’t pull the trigger.

E.J. Schoenborn is a spoken word poet from Macalester College who has competed in various slams in the Twin Cities and the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) 2016 in Austin, TX.

Lara Wilson

Lara Wilson

Editor at NY Literary Magazine
Lara holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature. She's a native New Yorker, an after-school English tutor, and a bookworm.
Lara loves photography and horseback riding.
Lara Wilson

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