Perspective

When he was 8 he always wore a hat
Never took it off it was a fight and struggle
For his mother who was partial to pink
And flounces of pink everything pink
Or should I say she always wore a hat?
That’s how we’d have described it then
That’s the part (one part) that’s hard when
Talking about the past is it she or he?
Because this person we love was she to us
If not (secretly) to himself for all those years

The hat was a problem at the school where kids
Were not allowed to wear hats to class
Back then I used to take him/her (you can see why
“They” and “ them” is preferred to he or she
But for a family where grammar and language
Is important the struggle to pluralize the singular
Is nearly impossible) along on work appointments
I’d call at 3 when he got home from school and say
I have to drive to Coatesville or Newark
I’d pick him up and he’d ride along in his hat

One clear full moon night when he was 5
He rode with me from my parents’ house
(His grand-parents house) to pick up
A pizza and we watched the moon follow the car
I told him about perspective from my 30-year
Old perspective he understood and I marveled at
His understanding of point of view and difference

In that year of the hat when he was 8 he asked
His father if they knew any gay people
“Susan’s gay” surprisingly this came as a surprise to him
Rendering him silent for a day “what’s the matter?”
“Everyone says I’m like Susan and I don’t want to be gay”

Later, queer was his word not gay or lesbian I didn’t
Understand at the time but now it’s clear like
The hat he wouldn’t remove for a year when we all
Tried to find hats for him that matched our
Perspective for a girl in 1990 when he was always a boy

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