Day Five, ROAR Showcase: What kind of lesbian would I be if I were born today by Candice Louisa Daquin

What kind of lesbian would I be if I were born today

I see your pictures on social media
a part of me is envious of your freedom
even though women many years before either of us
had absolutely no freedom and only those
with enough money could consider taking
a woman as their lover
it is hard to imagine
each generation I suspect
forgets the sacrifices of the last
cannot envision a time when
it was illegal to love
my experience was never that awful
I had freedoms many women still do not possess
and I am grateful for that
but sometimes when I see your
youthful face and the grace with which you accept love
how natural and easy it feels
I recall how I began
hiding in dark bars, trying to fit in, failing
never one to play endless games of poker face
I didn’t fit in with my own kind then
but if I’d been you
born in the sun with your turquoise eyes like the Donovan song
I might have had on my arm a whole host of dreams and not
dabbled in boys for a few futile and unhappy years or
felt I couldn’t have had children and let
my fear and my constraint decide for me the future
you are the age my daughter might be
and I would like to think I’d have done all you have done had I been born
in a time of greater acceptance where women who love women can grow their hair
and not have to cling to stereotypes or subterfuge
carrying knots of shame and confusion, like blankets never stretched out and slept on
I would have gotten a tattoo and maybe been less shy and apologetic
I remember at 18 that’s all I seemed to do
sorry to my family for not having turned out straight
apologetic to those who thought our culture, our race 
should procreate with a man and not be ‘unnatural’ 
sorry to my friends for being the odd one out
sorry to the gays on the march who thought
with my dresses and my long tresses I was a weekend lesbian
if they only knew what it took and what I sacrificed
maybe they understand now
but we’re all a little older and you don’t recapture what you felt at 18
you remember it like a language
I spoke the language of trial and error

I suspect you speak the language of love
just a little freer
so forgive me if I envy you as you walk past me
hand in hand, laughing, the edges of your hair
hitting your waist
like a Summer tidal wave.

Candice Louisa Daquin is of Sephardi French/Egyptian descent. Born in Europe, Daquin worked in publishing before immigrating to America to become a Psychotherapist, where she has continued writing and editing whilst practicing as a therapist. Daquin is Senior Editor at Indie Blu(e) Publishing, a feminist micro-press. She freelances as Writer-in-Residence for Borderless Journal and Poetry & Art Editor for The Pine Cone Review. Her next personal book of poetry is Tainted by the Same Counterfeit (Finishing Line Press, coming out 2022). Find more of her work at http://www.thefeatheredsleep.com

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