Found Wanting

“…the homosexual was now a species.” — Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume I

you did, at least after 
                  learned of my want 
                           of a different 
a few aberrant 
forms away 

           from a coveting, 
           that does not abandon me 
           even after my wrist is 
                                raw until I start 
                                             to smart,
as if boys 
could ever know penance 
when raised on 

such that they latch onto
                 the breast, 
                 the schoolyard, 
                 the promise of
Yet you forgave me,
but I wondered for what: 

                         your same
                         wanting found 
                         in my mouth 
                         you did not expect 
                         to encounter there,
                         your conclusion that I am
                         my wanting, 
                         only my wanting. 


Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health HumanitiesPublic Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in Barren Magazine, WordgatheringGlassSouth Carolina Review, Foglifter, and The New Engagement, as well as in two chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019) and Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020). []