Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, August 30, 2013

Spoon River Middle School: 46

Robin Gaye

Free Writing

My parents named me for a common bird—
a dingy top, a breast of red, a song
that’s not among the best I’ve ever heard,
a chirping sort of mix of short and long.
It is the kind of name that girls or boys
could have, and so particularly here
in middle school I’ve had so little joy
in it. It is a reason now I fear
to leave a class, to walk the halls, where I—
as certainly and suns and moons do rise
and set—will hear the laughter and the cry
about how Robin’s not a name for guys.
Some boys will whistle—or will chirp like birds.
While others, always knowing what to say,
will hurl at me their sharpest weapon-words
of Fag! and Queer! and all their terms for gay.

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