When I Kiss You, A Casket Opens 
— after june 12, 2016

this is not terrorism

this is toxic masculinity 

made in the USA

when my mother hears 

about orlando

she doesn’t look at me

the next day is three years 

to the night we first kissed 

& it actually meant something 

to both of us

but i am imagining us 

buried in the ground

because when a man looks at us 

all i feel is sickness & anger

because when a man looks at us

i already know 

what he is going to do

once, at the beach, 

when we kissed in the water

& one of them asked us 

to do it again 

in exchange for brunch

once, holding hands 

& crossing the street

when one of them yelled at us 

looking down from a window 

in a bar next to his girlfriend

once, when i was kissing you goodbye 

in the rain & a group of them 

asked to join in

i am so tired of being scared

i am so tired of seeing us die

i am so tired of ignoring your kiss

when we are outside

& surrounded by the things

that kill us every day

i am sure that my death

is going to happen

at the hand of someone else

& when it does happen

i will think about once

when i saw you laughing

when i was sad & honestly,

i just want my mom 

to say something about this 

but i know she won’t

so i will just remember 

the last time she laughed

something i rarely hear

& that will be the sound

my body will feel first

From Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). Used with permission. Photo by Charlotte Klein.
beyza ozer is a queer/trans/Muslim person living in Chicago. beyza’s work has appeared in & is forthcoming from The OffingVinyl, & the anthologies Subject To Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017) & Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019). beyza is the author of FAIL BETTER (fog machine press, 2017) & they are a recipient of the Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Award. beyza is deputy director of social media of YesYes Books & works at The Poetry Foundation.
 
To read more poems of provocation and witness, please visit The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database at SplitThisRock.org.
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