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Day 29: Donuts by Dan Kraines

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.


by Dan Kraines

lined in the window of Peter Pan, that I refuse to eat,
for I want a new body but
get a haircut instead, rolling into your shop again,
where you lounge in your barber’s chair, darksome
and gazing into your mirror, as if inside Versailles,
as if transposing what you dream
into a revolution of my senses, as if I had not
face planted through the door and refused a beer
for seltzer. The narrative of my heart is Whitney
Houston’s How Will I Know? You softly bump
your crotch against me as you begin to buzz
the side of my head, what’s left from what fell out,
you who wear a pompadour, a white
tank top, and checkered tights; you regret that you
were the one in high school who pulled kids out
of the closet and told them they were queer; press me
against a locker, take me down with your strap-on;
you say that you just bought a beat-up car and cannot
wait to pick up a pretty girl: I have never done that before,
you say, as you taper the back of my head, and ask,
smiling, how much do you want off the front? a finger length?
What would it feel like to bind my chest and
let you undo the wrap and touch the breasts that I don’t have.
But I would not want to show what I tied up. Do you ever
touch your crotch and wish for what isn’t there? Squirming
a little in the chair, I talk to you about getting touched,
as a boy; you tell me you’re sorry. Why can’t I have your
infinite, starlike arms; you who could not
use the bathroom at a wedding without
someone trying to get you out of the women’s stall.
When I asked for your pronouns, you said
you accept them all. We laugh as you lament
that your colleague wore the same pants as you
yesterday. What will I do for Pride,
you want to know. And would I like a hot towel?
You hold it against my eyes and brow; I breath in
its lavender scent, as if you’d raised a nosegay to me,
as if the aroma were yours, somehow; gently
you dab my forehead and brush my cheeks,
lifting the compression
from my face.

Copyright © 2019 by Dan Kraines. Used with the permission of the author. Originally published in The Adroit Journal (Djanikian Prize) in 2019.

About the Author

Author headshotDan Kraines earned a Ph.D. in poetics. Queer Longing, his manuscript, won the Susan B. Anthony Dissertation prize in gender and sexuality studies, from the University of Rochester. He teaches creative writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology.


Queer Poem a Day graphic

2021 Queer Poem a Day

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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