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Robby Auld


for reminding me that seven years ago,

I wore a vintage cheerleader uniform

without a shirt underneath, to show off

my collarbones, giving myself

a nipple rash that lasted for weeks.

Thank you for reminding me that,

even in those moments, doing

choreographed dance routines

with boys also dressed in vintage

cheerleader uniforms, I was still 

a faggot to them. After the game,

they could take their uniforms off

and I could not. The rash runs deep. 

Seeing the photo now as a  

“flashback memory” is maybe

the first time I’ve seen an image

of myself from those years,  

high school, early college,


and thought, 

Too thin. 

Poor kid.  

Are you okay? 

Are you eating? 

Stomach full of cold air, 

walking home from everywhere,

afraid of the dark, passing cars. 

The night of the big game, 

boys as cheerleaders, girls 

as players, another kid 

on the makeshift squad 

offered me a ride home. 

I got in his truck. He said 

eye contact while driving 

was weird. We looked at 

the road. He said he was 

hooking up with a guy 

for the first time, someone

older. We looked at the road.

I think I said, Be safe. I think

I said, He sounds wonderful. 

I think of the moment now,

night road ahead, him in my periphery,

nervous, pulling into my driveway,

me getting out, saying thank you,

goodnight, raw rash on my chest,

heartbeat beneath, not alone.

Robby Auld is a writer living in Waltham, MA. Their poems appear or are forthcoming in the lickety~split, BULLSHIT LIT, and Ghost City Review. Find them on Instagram and Twitter @robbyauld.

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