by Nicholas Barnes
i sent my sexual shadow to a siberian gulag. half of my soul was kept from the precious light. no
one really knew her, not even me. i feared the hammer, i feared the sickle. i was scared of what
they’d call us, so i squashed her with my boot heels. i threw my friend into the polar wastelands.
but across any etcetera, there she was, after all i put her through. always urging me to pay heed to
the portents, to look inward. pleading with me to listen, or else face the buzzsaw of self denial.
both of us grew tired of the charade, the stupid disguises, the iron curtain: pretending i don’t like
boys too. somehow she’s forgiven me. ever since i let her out, we walk hand in hand, in step with
each other. i can’t escape her, and i wouldn’t want to. we’re a federation of one, reunited at last.
Nicholas Barnes earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Southern Oregon University. He is currently working as an editor in Portland. His poems have appeared in over fifty publications including trampset, NonBinary Review, and Eclectica Magazine.