dear love

for queer youth

it may not get better, and it may get worse, or you’ll get stronger, or you’ll
make it better. maybe heaven is 21 and free in a gay bar: just kiss his lips, love.

we didn’t dream of anal sex, or fisting, and dental dams, rainbow flags and miller lite,
christina aguilera on that stage, all we hoped for first, was love.

because if i could, id take her hand in mine, id spin her out, hold her in,
rock her back and forth, hips all around mine, dont worry love, love.

for you, i asked a beautiful queer theorist for her favorite words–sticks
and stones may break my bones–for you he gave only one, love.

because queer runs down and around your tongue, fits so naturally,
like it should always be there. my hand in yours. that’s how we know love.

they say we’re different because our index fingers longer. hypothalamus brighter.
science vs. romance. little do they know, how to quantify and fabricate love, love.

our paper hearts. though woman or man don’t translate well into this fragmented
world of mine–made of ventricles, blood and pump—only love, even if broken, love.


Margaret Rhee is the author of Yellow (Tinfish Press), co-editor of Here is a Pen: An Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press), and managing editor of Mixed Blood, a literary journal on race and experimental poetics. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley in Ethnic and New Media Studies. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project in San Francisco. She is a Kundiman Fellow.