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Day 1: Pride Month by Shelley Wong

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

Pride Month

by Shelley Wong

It is June & I read about having grace to forgive those

who would condemn us. It is June & a man reads a poem

where the father becomes a dying stag

& the son says there is something

I need to tell you. It was June when I was awake

past midnight gathering news

about the Pulse nightclub shooting. I fell asleep

knowing I would wake to walk against grief

in waves. It is June & I am happy

that Tegan & Sara will appear

in San Francisco or Oakland.

It is June & I have never prayed to any god.

It was New York in the 2000s

when my ex ran the backstage chaos

at the Pride pier dance. We slid through

a sea of men with shaved chests.

The songs hardly had words & the bass

shuddered into our bodies. Fireworks

climaxed over the Hudson & the crowd rocked

& roared back. I stood in a tropical sundress in the VIP section

surrounded by so many barely dressed people

double-kissing my face saying happy Pride

& where is your wife—

Copyright © 2021 by Shelley Wong. Used with the permission of the author. Originally published in the Kenyon Review Online in February 2018.

About the Author

Author headshotShelley Wong is the author of As She Appears (YesYes Books, 2022), winner of the 2019 Pamet River Prize, and the chapbook RARE BIRDS (Diode Editions, 2017). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, and The New Republic. She has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from MacDowell, Kundiman, and Vermont Studio Center. She is an affiliate artist at Headlands Center for the Arts and lives in San Francisco. For more:

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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