Bury your Queers
I was in my last year of high school when Tara died.
I didn’t see it, but I heard about it the next day
from all my straight friends. A bullet, not even meant
for her, to the chest. At least, they said, she didn’t know
she was dying, it was so quick. Of course, I thought, she
had to die, it was destined.
Back then, queer characters were all Checkhov’s guns—
as soon as you saw two women smile at each other
across a Wicca circle at college, you knew one of them
would be dead before the end of the season.
This must be why I can’t love gently. Tragedy glowing
in my heart before the crush even begins.
Remember when we first saw each other
at an open mic night at the student bar.
I think I knew, even then, how it would end—
the fireworks and brimstone, and the spray of my blood
across your shirt. I’d never even seen a happily-ever-after—
I only knew it all going up in flames.
Hannah Mettner (she/her) is a Wellington-based poet from Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. Her first collection, Fully Clothed and so Forgetful (VUP 2017), was longlisted for the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and won the Jessie Mackay Award for best first book of poetry. With Sugar Magnolia Wilson and Morgan Bach, she is one of the founding editors of Sweet Mammalian. A new collection is forthcoming from THWUP in 2023. @hmettner