Staying Safe

Kiss your partner before you open the door.
Make sure the blinds are closed.

Once you step into the harsh outside world,
don’t show affection and don’t look back.

Walk.
Fast.
With your keys poised between your fingers,
like your life depends on it.

When you get home,
lock the door.

Check out the window for moving figures.
Double check the lock.

Suffer through the heat at night
because it’s safer than
opening the balcony door.

     

Check your pronouns before you open the door.
Make sure your clothes are cis.
Once you step into that office suite,
don’t lower your voice and don’t reveal yourself.

Work.
Hard.
With your body on display for all to verify,
like your livelihood depends on it.

When you get home,
lock the door.

Check out the window for moving figures.
Triple check the lock.

Suffer through the heat of day
because it’s safer than
revealing yourself.

     

Take off your binder before you get to the door.
Make sure you look like the girl they raised.
Once you step into that house,
don’t even think about coming out.

Laugh.
Loud.
With soprano voice singing femininity,
like your stability depends on it.

When you get home,
lock the door.

Check out the window for moving figures.
Quadruple check the lock.

Suffer through the heat during visits
because it’s safer than
coming out to your family.

     

Secure your Pride gear before you open the door.
Make sure it’s tucked away on the way to the parade.
Once you step into the rainbow sea,
don’t stop scanning the crowds for guns and familiar faces.

Stay
Alert.
With your partner held tight in your arms
like your love depends on it.

When you get home,
lock the door.

Check out the window for moving figures.
Quintuple check the lock.

Suffer through the heat in the closet
because it’s safer than
losing all you’ve ever known.

     

Put on your clothes before you open the door.
Make sure you’re comfortable.
Once you step into the harsh outside world,
don’t return the stares and don’t react.

Live.
Normally.
With your head held high
like your sanity depends on it.

When you get home,
ignore the lock on the door.

Don’t check out the window —
there’s probably moving figures.
Again, ignore the lock.

They would just find another way in.

Get used to the suffering heat
because it’ll become your home
amidst the fires you’ll walk through.

Your body
doesn’t get
safety
in this world.

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