They hold hands in private
They “kiss in a shadow”
They go separate ways for
family functions, from
weddings to Christmas.
They always stay home
each Thanksgiving, sharing
bountiful blessings with
friends, more their real
family than relatives
(except Aunt Sandy and
Uncle Lou, who always bring
sweet potatoes and hugs).

They’ve been beaten bloody
for daring to share a
peck on the cheek in the park.
They can tell you all about
Stonewall because they were
there. They met in Harvey’s
Castro District and clicked.

They are part of a generation
of gay men, closet doors open
only to their neighbors, friends.
To families, pastors, and former
classmates, they’re just two guys
who never found the right girl
and sharing a house saved money
in the long run.

Forty years of keeping a lid
on their love.

(For John and Tony, RIP)

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil