Never call a scavenger
a thief. I do not take what shouldn’t
belong to me. See the light of evening,
move a little to the morning horizons.
The night will not miss a minute or two.
When you meet me
I find a gift to take along,
it does not have to be much.
A phrase of speech, the way
you shook my hand (firm but
somehow still soft and kind).
In time the joy is less
the prize and more
in my prayers each night.
(Bless the shopkeeper who called me sir,
and the Christian woman who did not stare
at church, the laundry doer who ignored
my bra and boxers.)
He-ers are helpers,
like brothers and sisters
teach me how to exist in the world.
In this strange body, strange life,
I take a piece of everyone with me.
A sunken bottle, replace water with sand.
Your kernel kept quiet within me,
a segment of your being brought into mine.
You’ve lost before, and wished back
those things were better left to others anyway.
Thank you for the piece of you,
I’ve scavenged myself into something
eclectic. I’ve only taken
what you left for the taking.
Sam Gray is currently an undergraduate student at Seton Hill University where he has previously been published in Eye Contact. Sam identifies as a queer nonbinary transmasculine person. While he feels storytelling to be his calling, he hopes to breathe the reality of the queer experience into the world through his poetry and stories.