this is for the drag mothers, taking frightened boys under lofty wings
“your makeup is your armour,” they murmur, “your dress is your shield”
and another for the helpers, flinging open their doors
their tearstained couch cushions, spare clothes in the closet.
this is for the ones who never thought they’d see thirty
who answer their phone at three in the morning
and tell their teenaged and terrified children
“it will be okay.”
this is for the teachers who snuck us binders and earrings
who lied to our parents for us
who never talked about their husbands or wives
who didn’t have to say that they understood.
this is for the fathers, too, fumbling over new words and doing what they can
and the fathers who know the language, who are tired
of explaining to doctors why they chose to bear their own children
and why it doesn’t make them anything but men.
this is for the families knitted together out of rags and fragments
the blood of the covenant is thicker than
the water of the womb.
you have to learn so much faster with nobody to teach you
you make a truth out of all the things you don’t want to be
so here’s a glass raised for the parents living and dead and always-remembered
who taught us what nobody else cared to know –
who showed us what nobody else cared to see.

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