Operation Desert Shield

by Yakov Azriel

Although you tell yourself it isn’t right,
and force yourself to focus on the art
of self-control, the dreams you’ve thwarted start
anew. You tell yourself you have to fight
the fortress of your heart; you dynamite
its ramparts and its walls, you blow apart
its towers and its gates—yet still your heart
remains intact: you dream of men all night.

You wage a war to no avail: you’re gay.
It’s hard for you to write this down, to say
the truth, the barbed wire truth you’ve spent your life
attacking, every battle lost. Let’s say
you’re brave enough to tell yourself you’re gay.
But what about the Army and your wife?