she’d laugh when catching me trying on her wigs,tiptoeing around her room—her high heels too small. She’d have a custom pairmade for my birthday, and we’d have high heel dance parties while watching the Grand Ole Opry. She’d encourage meto write, gift me Aunt Willowdeen’s book of poems. She’d remind me,songs are poetry set to music.She’d keep the poem I wrote in middle school,take with whenever she traveled.I’d beg for our summer tradition—sneaking off in our RV,destination selected by me,and always starting with a drive-thru stop at Taco Bellfor a Mexican Pizza.
And when I came out to her,she’d say, Oh honey. I’ve always known,hold my face in her hands as she said, I’ll always love you. She never would have even thoughtthe words my mother said to me:Great. Now, I’ll be stuck taking care of youwhen you’re dying from AIDS.
Dustin Brookshire’s (he/him) chapbooks include Never Picked First For Playtime (Harbor Editions, 2023), Love Most Of You Too (Harbor Editions, 2021) & To The One Who Raped Me (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012). He is a co-editor of Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing, 2023.) Dustin hopes you’ll visit him at dustinbrookshire.com to learn more about Limp Wrist and the Wild & Precious Life Series.