by Karen Lee Light

My bare legs drape across Kat’s clothed ones,
posed for the camera like a glamour girl.
Kat sits, I recline, on a dorm room bed,
dressed for different seasons.
We attend a Christian college,
a castle on a mountain overlooking Tennessee.
Sex is not allowed.
We are best friends,
united by our love for Christ
and the freedom in our minds.

Her family has long ties with the college;
I’m a former foster child.
She attends a staid White church;
I join the fun interracial one.
She shows me the Bible verses suggesting
God includes evil;
I don’t see any verses saying I can’t skinny dip.
She says things no one else would say.
I’m afraid I’ll jump off the mountain,
the trees down there are so beautiful,
they’d catch me.

Holidays I go to her house,
play hymns on her piano and sing,
while she smiles.
At Halloween I am Kat and Kat is me.
She tames my hair with her sister’s curlers,
and I loan her my Indian shirt.
We share one bedroom of an apartment
while the other girl gets a bedroom to herself.
I am making a life with her.
She writes me a letter,
a list of what she loves about me;
she loves my toes.

When she gets a boyfriend,
there is fire in my chest
and divorce in my head;
still we remain friends.
The end comes later.
I finally write I’m gay
from the safety of Philadelphia.
I wait a year. Her last letter comes.

Karen Lee Light lives in Weaverville, North Carolina, in a house named Roof & Refuge. When she’s not writing, she’s dancing or looking at the mountains. Her favorite musician is Ani DiFranco, and her favorite colors are red and purple.