r e t u r n i n g s

I see her, former colleague
in the baggage area of a
foreign airport.

Oh hi, she says,
looking awkwardly towards the
empty carousel.

Then she decides.
I hear you’re gay now, she says.
are you still a Christian?

Oh how will we tell this story?

She, to her friends, with
sadness, curiosity and prayers
for reorientation and returning.

Me, to mine, with sadness,
anger and prayers for
refocusing the lenses and returning.

And the anger was all mine.
And that question
was all about her.

Should we not just dance instead,
I should have said,
together turn a little waltz in

the chorus of our own bodies
while we wait and wait and wait for something better
than the empty carousel of this question.

How will we tell this story?
How will I tell this story?
With sadness.

With practicings of little ballroom dances
while we wait, confidently,
for what is most important to be returned.

This poem is printed here with the permission of the poet.

Listen to his On Being conversation, “Belonging Creates and Undoes Us.”