Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 14 • Summer 2005 • Poetry

A Faggot in Jr. High

James Justus Ross

I was sport
for my macho peers,
because I could run
and make sounds like prey
when caught.

Me and my best friend Timmy,
we thought that name they started calling us meant
fat maggot
but I knew that couldn't be right
because I was skinny as
Olive Oyl

They gave us pet names,
I was Sweet Cakes, Timmy was Marshmallow,
because he was chubby and I was
too scared to be anything but nice,
even when they cornered us,
giving us charlie horses until
they were satisfied they'd gotten hard enough,
and stabbing me with a compass point,
my thigh bubbling red with shame.

They were gods and demons to me,
for I was an untouchable,
looking down, making way,
for I knew what they knew:
that some people are boots,
and some people are the
discarded things
boots step on and over.

Though I turned out to be as
flinty as a pioneer,
and, you see as I write this,
a durable witness,
I bear your mark still,
the wound of the brand
having faded to a pink
pale as an old flower
pressed in a book.

James Justus Ross believes a few words can make a difference if they're the right words. So becoming a good poet matters to him. New to all this, this is just his second poem to be published. Works in health care, lives in Minnesota, heart's in northern New Mexico. In love going on 18 years. Trying to live with decency and grace, gratitude also, a lot of gratitude.

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