Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.
Is This or Is This True as Happiness
by Derrick Austin
When we finally make it, we sit on cold stones.
The river curling over and under our feet
even colder. His secret place.
The air has that early fall smell, things beginning
to rot, the wet soil nourishing itself.
Anything could happen
to me in this white ass town. I’m terrified
if he knows that and terrified if he doesn’t.
My body is puffy, unremarkable.
I’ve grown distant and sullen.
A witch told me gin placates the dead.
Whose dead have I been trying to drown
drinking my own elegy?
He asks if I’m happy, and I say yes. See how easy it is
to get here, he says. Yes,
I say. But you have to take me back.
Copyright © 2019 by Derrick Austin. Used with the permission of the author. Originally published in Tin House in 2019.
About the Author
Derrick Austin is the author of Tenderness, forthcoming from BOA Editions in Fall 2021, and Trouble the Water (BOA Editions). He is a 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. He currently lives in Oakland, CA.
- Day 1: Pride Month by Shelley Wong
- Day 2: Is This or Is This True as Happiness by Derrick Austin
- Day 3: Nature Poem by Sam Herschel Wein
- Day 4: Ana I Don’t Forget by Gala Mukomolova
- Day 5: Eavesdropping on Adam and Eve by Andrea Cohen
- Day 6: Billow of Thistles by Ruben Quesada
- Day 7: Prayer for My Trans Siblings by H. Melt
- Day 8: Summer by Chen Chen
- Day 9: Embers by Henri Cole
- Day 10: Male Beauty by Richie Hofmann
- Day 11: [unsent draft] by Rachel Mennies
- Day 12: Forty by Julia Guez
- Day 13: Of Contour, of Cadence by Phillip B. Williams
- Day 14: The Men We Loved by Cyril Wong
- Day 15: Riding the Bus Back to Oxford by Catherine Pond
- Day 16: The Window by Jay Besemer
- Day 17: Want Could Kill Me by Xandria Phillips
- Day 18: What a Waste by Jill McDonough
- Day 19: Eros by Randall Mann
- Day 20: An Act by Michael M. Weinstein
- Day 21: Things I Didn’t Do With this Body and Things I Did by Amanda Gunn
- Day 22: Puzzle Pieces by D. A. Powell
- Day 23: Duplicity by Jameson Fitzpatrick
- Day 24: Is It True All Legends Once Were Rumors by Carl Phillips
- Day 25: High School Sleepovers with Straight Girls by Julian Guy
- Day 26: Abu Nuwas by Kazim Ali
- Day 27: Observation Car by Lauren Clark
- Day 28: Love Song by Eileen Myles
- Day 29: Donuts by Dan Kraines
- Day 30: The Lone Palm by Jenny Johnson
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.