a trip to midway

by Sarah Gina Jones
midway airport

midway between Chicago and my parents

a great industrial shithole of puckered cement

my entrance and escape from home.

This is when my mother drums

up the conversation politely muzzled

between teeth for five long days

with only one slip in between

Do you have to wear that chain wallet

to the restaurant?

For the first time we have managed to smile

through the jaws of difference

because in the end, surrender

was the easiest path of acceptance.

In the procession of brake lights

that stretched in front of the car

like a sentence never finished

she breaks her oath

needing to know about men?s underwear

discovered in the laundry.

It?s more comfortable

I say, cringing at the thought

of her folding blood streaked tighty-whities.

But now she needs to know about my girlfriend?s

intimate apparel and I think, you kinky broad,

knowing this conversation

would never be asked of my straight siblings.

But before I tell her


I blurt out: girlie panties with bows.

She accelerates midway into the airport

tears ready to take off along the runway

of her face.

C?mon, I say, We?ve had such a nice visit.

Do you want to be a man?

I just want to understand who you are.

And I wonder

if I?m supposed to be that person

to make it all logically sound

to spread my skin so thin

that it becomes transparent to show

how the blood flows.

I don?t explain that I feel like fag

trapped in a woman?s body,

neither male or female

butch or femme.

What is there to explain

when there is no where to meet midway?

I drift to daydream the shadow life-

the one not lived--

where I am married with kids

doing dishes when a shrewd sensation

bubbles up out of the soap opera

into a caption

for the traditionally impaired

that reads: This is all a lie.

I grab my bag from the backseat and try

not to apologize,

No mom, really,

I?m just trying to be me.