San Franciscan bookstore
Invited me invitingly to the aisle marked ‘used lesbian fiction’,
‘Used lesbian fiction’.
‘Used’. ‘Lesbian’. ‘Fiction’.
Does it mean novels and prose of lesbians who had been used?
And if so, what had they been used for?
Were they made to run on treadmills to power our banks?
Or as flotation aids for amputee otters,
Or perhaps they were used as emergency scarecrows?
It meant used in a much deeper, more oblique way,
Like used up, like chewed up, like spat out.
Beaten up by a world of discrimination, looks out of the side of the eyes
When hands are held in public.
By remarks of ‘oh, which one are you, the butch or the femme?’
At dinner parties up and down the social strata,
By pay gaps, and fights for marriage and cries of sins,
Perhaps the lesbians in these fictions were just used up by the world.
They are just books that have been owned before.
But if the books are at all accurate,
It’s probably both.
Just not the otter thing,
I don’t think.