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Getting Happy

When the men got happy in church,
       they shouted and jumped straight up.

But the women's trances
       made them dance with moaning; so,

I dreaded Rev. Johnson's sermons
       near their end, hated the trouble

he was causing inside
       the souls of women sweating

and beginning to breathe fast.
       One day, I worried, my mother

would let go and lose herself
       to him, become as giddy

as when my father was coming home
       on leave. Just as silly.

Yet, when it finally happened,
       I felt only left behind.

Years later, another first time,
       I heard my moan echo inside

a girl's ear and recognized
how woeful pleasure feels.

I then began to wonder
if there weren't some joy still

to give in to, make me shout
not as men do but as a woman.

It troubles me.
       I do not have a woman's body

but fear that moaning will betray
       this want in me, or another

to be like a woman. Mostly,
       I fear that moaning will uncover

the love for my mother that is still
       so deep that I want little more

than to be with her as closely as I can.

Written by Forrest Hamer


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