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Poem: "Apprehension" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Apprehension"
This poem is from the September 2013 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by a sculpture by Choi Xoo Ang; this one has slightly covered male nudity. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the series Diminished Expectations.


Two wiry young men
cling together in desperation,
looking away from each other
to see if anyone has seen
what they are doing.

One wears only a g-string
and cups his hand protectively
over his nude partner's privates.

The other clamps his hand
over his lover's mouth,
worried that someone might hear them.

There is no shame in what they are,
no guilt in the great love they share,
but they have not been permitted
to know this.

Their anxiety is not so much
for themselves as each other,
knowing what will happen if they are caught --
how they would be forced to watch
each as the other suffers.

They do not think they could bear it.

The fear eats at them,
dread of what could come of this,
and yet they cannot bring themselves

to let go.

* * *


Apprehension can refer to three different things: understanding of the mind, fear of something troublesome, or arrest by authorities. All of those tie into this poem, but foremost is the emotion, since this is a series about feelings. Also relevant is the idea of moral apprehension, which is impaired here due to a cultural failing.

Homosexuality is a natural variation within the range of human sexual behavior. This includes homoromantic (passionate, but not physically sexual) attraction.

Homophobia is an unreasoning fear or hatred of people who feel attraction for their own sex. It causes discrimination in many countries, and some have laws mandating imprisonment or death for homosexual behavior. This can have negative impacts on the health of homosexual people. Such discrimination is morally wrong.

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