I see the world through breath-coated lenses
& while it’s nice to know I’m still alive—
& breathing—it’s maddening. I can’t read
through condensation—can’t fully assess
the man sitting across from me on the Q.
Is he as tall & masked as I think he is?
Just as my fellow big-city citizens must heed
traffic lights flashing overhead—
now green, now yellow, suddenly red—
I, too, must obey the stop sign, must be
certain when to cruise & when to hit
the brakes. But it’s hard to sense,
these days, whether it’s love I see
or hate, whether the object of my ever
growing affections is gay or straight.
Steven Cordova’s collection of poetry, Long Distance, was published by Bilingual Review Press in 2010. His poems are forthcoming in New Orleans Review, and have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Callaloo, The Journal, Notre Dame Review, and the Los Angeles Review. He reviews books for Lambda Literary. From San Antonio, TX, he lives in Brooklyn.