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When we come to understand ourselves as queer, we look back on our childhoods and try to understand our journeys into the people we are now. This poem is a message I wish I could send to myself at this moment in my queer childhood.

When I was very young (and scared)

And my friends were more than I could bear

I would play hide and seek with no one.

My hideaway was the closet, and I sought my comfort there.

It was close with coats and dim with dust

Except for the little plastic stars

Glowing green in that tiny dark

Taped to the walls and ceiling.

I hung up my fears, and in there, night

Was vast in my imagination

And from the little plastic stars

I dreamed my constellations.

 

In the ceiling of the closet was a trap door.

My feet were too small and unsure

For the ladder that was the only way through.

As I sat there, hidden

From whatever was seeking,

I wondered what there was

Beyond the ceiling.

My parents told me it was a passage to Narnia.

I dreamed of the children

Who crawled through the attic

‘Til they found the magician

And he took them away.

If only I had had the legs for it –

I could have done it too –

But the ladder was high,

And my feet did not know the way up,

So I sat, and never climbed beyond the plastic stars.

 

Now I am young, but not so scared –

I’ve seen the stars unreachable,

The vastness of the firmament,

That sky much bigger than the one

Whose only light was plastic stars.

I found the legs to mount the stair;

I climbed beyond the ceiling.

Now I call, from Narnia,

To those still huddled in the dark:

I’ve risen out of the closet

I’ve risen out of the closet

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