When I Hear
Your Broken Voice
It was just a small paragraph in the local news—
Pocono High found you out
canceled your concert because you were a lesbian.
I read it over and over. So you were not coming
here, but you were out there somewhere.
Someday, I could find you.
Why, my father said, are there so many women
at this show? In your voice, a bird
strong enough to fly south. I think,
I said, they’re here together.
My freshman year I cooked breakfast every Saturday
for the co-op. Cut onions to feed 200,
quick-pickled cucumbers and wrestled dough
into and out of the kneading machine, its bowl
tall as my thigh. Always your voice
in the background golden
and rich as oil,
alive with the yeasty smell of bread rising
Yesterday, I heard a woman on the radio
imitating you poorly, each note a wavering ghost
circling without alighting. It was
And you won’t talk about it—the secret
in plain view. Like your mullet, your plaid,
your slight wife. I have no right
to ask you, but I need your honesty again.
Tell me, like you told me before, it will all be fine—
to grow old,
for our heads to wobble short-circuited
our nerves betraying us, to weaken
brown and sag. I can believe it
if you tell me once more
it is fine
her lips against my hair, this body
that only knows how to keep going
in your echo
Emma Wynn (she/they) received her M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School and teaches Philosophy & Religion and LGBTQ U.S. History. Her poetry has appeared most recently in, Sky Island Journal (which nominated her poem for the Pushcart Prize), West Trade Review, peculiar magazine, Apricity Press, and The Raw Art Review. Her first chapbook, Help Me to Fall, was a winner of the 2019 Moonstone Arts Center chapbook contest.