Before I Knew I Was Gay, I Was Told I Was Catholic

I came to this stuffy,
overly-woody room

for one reason
& one reason only:

            Sunday candy,

the sweet & sour coke bottle

            & a cherry slurpee

to soothe
my eight-year-old throat.

The convenience store is on the way

Its bright lights,
neon aisles

of neatly wrapped prayers,
peelable saints.

But first,            church.

But first,            this stale

bad breath-causing Eucharist
that I don’t

            want, that I don’t


& will later come to learn
doesn’t understand

            me either.

Grant Chemidlin is a queer writer and poet living in Los Angeles. He is the author of two collections of poetry, He Felt Unwell (So He Wrote This) and Things We Lost In The Swamp. He’s been a finalist for the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award, the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, and is currently pursuing an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles. You can find more of his work on Instagram: @grantcpoetry.

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