Slicing Limes for Dustin

Slicing Limes for Dustin
by Stephen S. Mills

“and what does it mean
if he tells his wife she’s unpleasant or dull
and what
does
it mean
if his wife takes sleeping pills or walks
in front of a car?”
—Diane Wakoski, “Slicing Oranges for Jeremiah”

And what does it mean to stand in a kitchen
slicing limes for cocktails?
Limes for Dustin?
For drinks we will consume
which will make us happy for a time
then horny
angry
sleepy
depressed
and maybe
if we are lucky
fully alive for just a second?

And what does it mean
that we can’t eat as many limes as we want?
That we can so easily get sick
on the citrus?
Stomachs aching?
What does it mean to care
for a sick person?
To wash his body?
Comb his hair?
And what does it mean
for a body to show signs of stopping?
Or for a mind to get confused?
To regret an action?
To do the things it never thought possible?

What does it mean
to stand here
taking care
of you
taking care of me?
To find comfort in this knife
puncturing the bright green skin
of a lime?
Green balls of light.

And what does it mean to fall in love again
and again
with limes in drinks
and the cutting board
smeared with pulp?
Or to go out into the city
and dance
with other bodies?
To be on display?
To have more drinks with sliced limes?
Limes cut by other hands
by other men
in other places.

And what does it mean for an old queen to say
we don’t live in the real New York?
That it’s gone?
Dead?
That somehow only one person’s experience
is real?
And what does it mean
to never want to be that old queen?
To never be that jaded?

And what does it mean
that we stood outside
the Stonewall Inn and drank cocktails
with limes
on the day the Supreme Court
struck down DOMA?
Was that not real?
And what does it mean to only look backward?
To always be longing for another decade?
Another time?

And what does it mean for two men
to be protected
under the law?
To call each other husband?
And what does it mean to know
that if we ever want to leave
each other
it will have to be official?
Paperwork goes both ways.

And what does it mean to become
a housewife voluntarily?
To slice limes for a husband?
Limes for Dustin?
And what does it mean to be married
yet remain queer?
Remain two men in love?
Bonded together?
What does it mean?

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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