Chris Dodds CC
We Are More
I stand quiet for a moment, thankful for the unconscious things that bodies do to keep us alive. I can see the blue of her veins through her pale legs. They weave in and out of my eyesight as she bends and moves. A map embedded into her body, pumping blood from one end to the next and back to her heart through her pulmonary veins. She asks, “what are you thinking?” I don’t tell her how my mind wonders what I did in this life to be gifted a lover like her, or how I’m thinking what a miracle it is that the universe, in whatever way that it works, crafted her just so, and brought her to me.
In a couple of weeks, we will read about bullets spreading through a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs. I don’t know a single person lost in this act of hatred, but I mourn just the same. Another man who hates the way that others love. Seven dead, more injured. I imagine that one of the fallen were paused mid-song, noticing the veins along their lover’s neck. Maybe they kissed it. Maybe they never had a chance to.
A gay sports rec league, my queer best friends, an LGBTQ+ coffee shop meet-up of strangers. I am frequently surrounded by the community that knows me best. Most days I am overwhelmed by how fortunate I am to be entangled in a community that has allowed me to live authentically. Some days, my eyes dart around a gay bar searching for the exits. Estimating how easily I could wield a glass into a weapon. I never know if I’d hide or fight. I spend a lot of time hoping that I’ll never know.
My skin is pressed into her, our legs weaved together like a safety net. I am safe in this love, free in this love. When I make our favorite pancakes on the weekend, pouring heart-shaped sprinkles into the batter, a playlist of love songs I made for her birthday filling the background, I consider what it is to be a part of us. How easy it is to be engulfed in adoration and pride. Our queer bodies are more than testimonials of tragedy. None of us want to be the martyr’s of this love, and even still, we are loud, we do not shrink for those who fear our love, we are the manifestation of the blood in our beautiful body’s veins. We live, despite those who do not want us to.
Skyler Jaye Rutkowski (she/they) is a writer from Buffalo, NY. Their work often discusses queerness, politics, tragedy, travel, and most recently they have been experimenting with joy. She is the non-fiction editor of Variety Pack and the author of A Mountain of Past-Lives and Things I've Learned (Blazevox, 2019). Their work has been widely published online and in print. You can find her on twitter @skylerjaye23 or more likely, at a dog park hanging out with her puppy.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.