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For Julio by Michael Ansa
published in Volume 9, Issue 2 on April 15th, 2002

The freshly scrubbed, pubescent-
Puerto-Rican boy who confesses love
To me tonight on
A crowded dance floor
Doesn't know
His name is Julio and he is
Twenty Two
He calls me "beautiful" and likes
"Older men"
"Older, black men"
I laugh and want to be kind to him
When he asks for
"Only a kiss"

Strangely tonight,
My grief is for him-
Because he wears that hungry look
Because he doesn't yet know
This is not a place for love
But a house of prayer
Because he doesn't understand
You must sometimes walk away
Because he is me
A thousand different nights ago-
"I love you too."

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