Because a few days ago, I was walking in a garden and saw a pulse of motion and realized there was a hawk in the grass a few feet away from me, and when he turned his cruel and terrible head I saw a dead mouse hanging heavily in his beak like a testicle.
Because that hawk looked right at me before he took off flying, and from the branch where he landed there was a rip, rip, and entrails unraveled like yarn.
Because once my uncle showed me all of his guns, and there were so many of them lined up in a drawer beneath his bed, and the ammunition rattled in its box like movie theater candy.
Because a few days before October, it snowed, and even though I love snow I took no pleasure in it.
Because when I was a girl we visited a North Carolina beach town with my family, and my father went out one afternoon to get us groceries and came back in a strange mood, and it was over a year later when he confessed to my mother that he did not wish to return to the North Carolina coast for vacation because locals had yelled unrepeatable racial slurs at him when he came out of the store with hamburgers and buns.
Because this week I made a wedding scrapbook and the first page was just pictures of lesbian brides cut out from magazines and every time I looked at it I felt happy and sappy and sentimental.
Because a few years back I was sitting in a quiet car with my mother and two of her sisters, and one of them said, “I just don’t believe in gay people,” and I laughed, startled, because it sounded like she meant gay people didn’t exist, like unicorns, and so I said to her, “Well, we believe in you, Auntie,” and the car was silent again.
Because when my conservative, devoutly Catholic grandmother died, I was grateful she was dead and that I never had to come out to her.
Because on Election Day I went grocery shopping and parked next to a massive pickup truck with a Trump bumper sticker, and when I walked past it I found myself giving it wide berth, like it was radiating heat.
Because when I was growing up, we lived next to a older white gay couple who told my parents that they hoped me and my siblings would get run over by a car, and that our “type of people” didn’t belong on that side of Allentown, and so my father had my mother give him a haircut on the front porch, where he sat shirtless drinking red wine and blasting salsa music at full volume.
Because not too soon after that, I took a tomato from the couple’s garden, and my mother marched me over to their house to apologize and return the stolen fruit, and I proffered it to them like it was a human heart, and the thin skin was broken and it was leaking acidic juice that ran down my skinny arms, and they looked uncomfortable and said it was fine, I could keep the tomato, and then as we were leaving I asked them if they were married to each other and my mother hustled me outside before they could answer.
Because on Sunday the clocks went back an hour, and instead of noticing the earlier sunrise, I only noticed the earlier darkness.