Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

Nature Poem 

by Sam Herschel Wein

In the house of nature, in the prairies of Bison,
there are no clothing racks
to lay down your sprinkled sweaters.
You stand in the rain
with your friends and all of you droop
from the weight,
until the sun comes out.
On your way into the prairies you ask an older couple
were the bison out today?
and they snap back at you NO, speed
up their pace.
Far from the city,
you and your two friends in crop tops,
short shorts, queers in the wild.

In the house of nature, you say to
your friends, animals love the queers,
we must go to their pastures
and loudly proclaim,
WE ARE GAY AND HERE TO SEE YOU
they will come say hello.
They have to.
It’s a rule.
You walk along the trail for hours in the sun,
past the prairies.

There are signs.
Bisons eat 25 pounds of vegetables a day.
Bisons are the straightest and gayest
animals imaginable, you say to your friends,
the three of you laughing,
then opening up, then
saying hello to passing strangers, giggling
some more,
like you have passed each other’s souls around with
a favorite set of tongs,
dipped in waters of healing,
in the ways
friends can care for each other beyond
the maps our parents laid out
like blankets we
tossed
from our beds.

You find a drooping tree alongside the path
with one small patch where
the tall grass is cleared, and you sit, replenishing
your energy with snacks. You are dreaming
of new ceremonies for each other,
friendship betrothals,
all conducted in your communal Fruit Mansion,
where you are paired up
and officiated
and written personal poems for
and kinkily knotted and tattooed with complimentary fruits
pouring matching drinks
or colors of sand
into specially made ceramic vessels.

All your dreams feel possible,
even if just for that green, gargantuan day.

And on your walk back, the bison.
Over seventy of them.
Right up to the fence, to say hello, just to you.
No other humans around.
They said, hey, we heard a bunch of
faggots were coming over, we have prepared appetizers.
Did you bring libations?
Come sit, and stay.
We are eating, resting, doors
open, windows down, all this air, please, join us.

We felt all that you were growing.
Can you pass the salad?

Copyright © 2021 by Sam Herschel Wein. Used with the permission of the author. Originally published on June 3, 2021, on Queer Poem-a-Day from the Deerfield Public Library Podcast.

Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) is a Chicago-based poet who specializes in perpetual frolicking. Their second chapbook, GESUNDHEIT!, a collaboration with Chen Chen, was part of the 2019-2020 Glass Poetry Press Series. He co-founded and edits Underblong. Recent work can be found in Moon City Review, Sundog Lit, and Bat City Review, among others. For more: samherschelwein.com

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for our series is from Excursions Op. 20, Movement 1, by Samuel Barber, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by a generous donation from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library.