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Likeness

Близок локоток, да не укусишь.
The elbow’s close but you can’t bite it.
    ~ Russian proverb

In English class I would greet him
American or British lit
All went to where teachers placed them
So by me is where he’d sit
With his shy smile and talent
I’d heard him play at the church
As my man could he be gallant
His music bade me research
I liked his shape tall and skinny
That’s not a bad match for me
For we’re alike: I’m not mini
And with him I could feel free
Word on the street might discourage
Dolts who’d insist he was gay
How were they sure of their knowledge
Which didn’t fit day by day
My mother sang lead soprano
First Methodist’s where we’d met
That’s where he’d play the piano
But not in gay bars I’d bet
So I pulled my small desk nearer
Offered my textbook to share
Was it just so he’d see clearer
He pulled toward mine, with his chair
From that time forward each school day
Brought us this little routine
Our desks together that same way
With my book’s spine right between
Their surfaces so accorded
One day he pulled out a tape
Music he wrote and recorded
I said I’d keep it in shape
Would it sound awful or crazy?
I took it home and pressed Play
“You never cease to amaze me”
Was all I could think of to say
His music with wind sound started
Capturing a cloudy day
I don’t know why he departed
Why by me he didn’t stay
Was penning verses his true wish
Rather than essays we’d write
For that class in honors English?
I wondered into the night
If he thought he should protect me
From jerks who’d mistreated him
For if he didn’t reject me
The rest of the school would — how grim
He must have felt to be rid of
My heart, he was so unfair
For a woman in love can give shove back for shove
For a man who believes in her care

Thanks always returns

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