lifetsyle

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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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