On Growing Up Queer in Northern Appalachia by Jay Douglas

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On Growing Up Queer in Northern Appalachia

We are the mountains. We are Mother Nature’s tits: asymmetrical, oblong, pendulous. Bulbous and beautiful with highways for cleavage. We are the coal mines: the secret shafts into the under-earth where gas leaks and canaries die. We are the railroad tracks where our parents flattened pennies: forgotten, abandoned, overgrown, echoing the rumble of the past. With veins like streams winding through the underbrush past the crumbling foundations our ancestors left us, we dig up the remnants of the farmhouse of forgotten dead stone-by-stone, moss under our broken fingernails. We are the crab grass underfoot. We are potholed, gravel driveways and fish that swim upstream, scales flashing like glass, slipping through our mothers’ desperate, clawing hands. We are catching snapping turtles in our fishing lines and scraped knees on the asphalt with gravel ground in. We’re the tear in old jeans, the leak in worn boots. We are bumblebees and garden spiders. We hold the dew in our fingers. We carry the sun.

Jay Douglas

Jay Douglas is a senior undergraduate student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania studying English and World Religions. When not writing, Jay can usually be found honing Jay’s mad yo-yo skills or immersed in a book on queer theory.