What story can I tell you to earn
a place around this fire? I helped
build the fence that kept them out,
but once I was one of them. Once
I had a different name and did not speak
as I do now; see these scars?
Every time my tongue slipped back
uncle was quick with the switch.
He did it out of love, he said.
To keep me safe. He had
scars of his own to show
and was still alive but love
was never something
I could understand. It seemed
forced into one’s hand and named
a gift even as it burned
a skin to blisters. I made it
this far, long past uncle’s end,
and still I do not know
why this fence exists, do not
know on which side I’d rather live.