In Those Days

In Those Days
by K. Tyler Christensen 

 

The basement floor held my tears
before it held my head to sleep.

In those days, I watched episodes
of Queer as Folk and listened to R have sex 

with L in the bed above me—as payment,
as a thank you to L for a soft place to land 

before R and me found a place
to call our own. And I didn’t care, 

in those days, that it meant sharing
a queen bed and couch surfing 

on nights when R was with T
and I was with A. In those days, 

five dollars at Wendy’s was enough
to feed two just-out-of-the-closet 

queers—a small fry, a Diet Coke,
and a spicy chicken sandwich 

cut in two.

                        //

In those days, I would call home
from the parking lot of L’s house 

and it would ring more than once,
before my mother would pick up, 

before I would have the chance
to tell her about how I knew 

that Justin and Brian weren’t going to
end up together in the end— 

so the thumpa thumpa continues.
No, in those days, before I could say 

anything more than hello,
my mother would pass the phone 

to my father who’d ask me
how my car was running, 

if I’d found a place to live yet,
and if I was ready to come home— 

home—a parking lot and a basement
floor in Holladay, Utah, 

episodes of Queer as Folk
and a table for two at a Wendy’s 

off North Temple
—that irrevocable condition

***

K. Tyler Christensen is a PhD candidate in American Literature & Culture in the English Department at The George Washington University. There, he teaches Creative Writing and American Literature. His work has appeared in Big LucksThe Huffington PostThe Rumpus, and Little Patuxent Review.