by Yakov Azriel
Pretend you’re straight. Pretend you’re looking at
a pretty girl, not at the handsome guy
in Army uniform who’s standing by
her side. Pretend a hat is not a hat,
a shoe is not a shoe. Pretend a bat
is something else: a swallow in the sky,
a swift, a swan. Pretend fierce dragons lie
beneath your bed. Pretend the earth is flat.
Pretend that you believe the moon is made
of cheese. Pretend that you believe a star
is but a spark of light our dreams create
to give us hope. Pretend you’re not afraid
the sergeant will discover who you are
and what your closet holds. Pretend you’re straight.