You can’t go back—
no matter how long
you sit on that swing,

knees folded
against your chest.
Pump your legs, 

if you want, pretend
this is recess—bury
your nose in your scarf

and swing
until you surpass
the top rail

and the chains
frost-nip your palms—
but you’ll still be you,

after. Just colder.
I’m sorry you’re scared.
I’m sorry the stars glitter 

a truth you aren’t
ready to face.
So what if you love

a woman? So what
if you want to hold
her hand and run 

your thumb
across her knuckles?
So what if you liked 

men before, if you like
men still—also—now?
Don’t crush

the heart-tendrils
blooming in your chest—
you can’t stop 

them: They’ll twist
into your lungs
instead. Trust me,

let them grow.
In the meantime
ask yourself, really: 

So what if you
love a woman?
So what?


Artist Statement:  I didn’t understand the interconnected nature of my identities as a feminist and LGBTQ+ ally until my mid-20s, when I grappled with my sexuality for the first time. It was the start of a new normal for me—one in which I decided, in poet Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s words, that I would “no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing.” Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but this poem represents the beginning of that journey of me—the first moment of change and intersectionality.

Bio: Natalie Schriefer often writes about sexuality, women in sports, and the outdoors. She loves asking people about their fictional & celebrity crushes (hers is Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist). Natalie received her MFA from Southern Connecticut State University. Home base:


Cover Photo: Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels