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One Poem by Allya Yourish

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Queer Belongings

after Elspeth Probyn’s “Queer Belongings: The politics of departure”
 

It’s not that the countryside blends,
it’s just that there’s so damn much of it. I named the Subaru
Gertrude. Trudie, most days. I trust her, this
marvel of a box, whose inner workings I understand
less than my own. I am reading about departures and queer
belonging in a campground a state or two after South Dakota,
and as I’m reading, my breath tightens, stops, and I am acutely aware
of Montana, if that’s where I am, or Wyoming. I hear the rustling
and soft swears of the butch
woman at the neighboring campsite rearranging
her tent. I am thinking about making eye contact
with her. A line of trees witnesses me, in a red camp chair, covered in
a plush blanket, hunched over this book, wearing
my favorite flannel, a worn green and grey plaid. I hope
the woman sees me. I hope she sees me in the way queer women want
to be seen by other queer women,
which has nothing to do with the way
I want straight women to see me, or men. I want queer women
to see me prismatically; I want to be split
apart, opened. And held, seen and
still held. I am wanting and wanting to be recognized
wanting. I want my desire witnessed before
it is met. I cannot hold this radiating need
gingerly, there is too damn much of it. I cannot imagine a life
cut free from unmet desire, it is a compass in my pocket, heavy
and insistent. Yearning is as queer to me
as the next signifier. I am lighting a fire
for the encroaching evening, and she looks.

   

   

   

Allya YourishAllya Yourish is from Portland, Oregon and currently lives in Ames, Iowa. She was a nanny in Paris, France, a Fulbright grantee in Kuala Krau, Malaysia, a news assistant for The New York Times, and now she is getting her MFA in Creative Writing and the Environment from Iowa State University. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in The Citron Review, Nixes Mate, Alocasia, and elsewhere. In her spare time, she buys too much nail polish and tells everyone to look at the moon. Find her on X (Twitter) @AllyaYourish.

Header photo by anatoliy_gleb, courtesy Shutterstock.

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