Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.
by Sam Herschel Wein
In the house of nature, in the prairies of Bison,
there are no clothing racks
to lay down your sprinkled sweaters.
You stand in the rain
with your friends and all of you droop
from the weight,
until the sun comes out.
On your way into the prairies you ask an older couple
were the bison out today?
and they snap back at you NO, speed
up their pace.
Far from the city,
you and your two friends in crop tops,
short shorts, queers in the wild.
In the house of nature, you say to
your friends, animals love the queers,
we must go to their pastures
and loudly proclaim,
WE ARE GAY AND HERE TO SEE YOU
they will come say hello.
They have to.
It’s a rule.
You walk along the trail for hours in the sun,
past the prairies.
There are signs.
Bisons eat 25 pounds of vegetables a day.
Bisons are the straightest and gayest
animals imaginable, you say to your friends,
the three of you laughing,
then opening up, then
saying hello to passing strangers, giggling
like you have passed each other’s souls around with
a favorite set of tongs,
dipped in waters of healing,
in the ways
friends can care for each other beyond
the maps our parents laid out
like blankets we
from our beds.
You find a drooping tree alongside the path
with one small patch where
the tall grass is cleared, and you sit, replenishing
your energy with snacks. You are dreaming
of new ceremonies for each other,
all conducted in your communal Fruit Mansion,
where you are paired up
and written personal poems for
and kinkily knotted and tattooed with complimentary fruits
pouring matching drinks
or colors of sand
into specially made ceramic vessels.
All your dreams feel possible,
even if just for that green, gargantuan day.
And on your walk back, the bison.
Over seventy of them.
Right up to the fence, to say hello, just to you.
No other humans around.
They said, hey, we heard a bunch of
faggots were coming over, we have prepared appetizers.
Did you bring libations?
Come sit, and stay.
We are eating, resting, doors
open, windows down, all this air, please, join us.
We felt all that you were growing.
Can you pass the salad?
Copyright © 2021 by Sam Herschel Wein. Used with the permission of the author. Originally published on June 3, 2021, on Queer Poem-a-Day from the Deerfield Public Library Podcast.
About the Author
Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) is a Chicago-based poet who specializes in perpetual frolicking. Their second chapbook, GESUNDHEIT!, a collaboration with Chen Chen, was part of the 2019-2020 Glass Poetry Press Series. He co-founded and edits Underblong. Recent work can be found in Moon City Review, Sundog Lit, and Bat City Review, among others. For more: samherschelwein.com
- 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.