“Leave Again” A Poem by Milo Palomo, An LGBT “Military Wallflower”

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“Leave Again” A Poem Milo Palomo

To dad:

Leave again, Afghanistan.
August the perfect ten, here to send you off again.
Broken, yearning for more open,
conversations.
45 mins and 38 seconds, to imagine not loving you.
God forgive the things we’ve done, to imagine loving you.
Leave again, we haven’t hugged in ten?
I hear, August is the perfect ten, here to send you off again.
Broken, crying for we.
The people cry for peace.
You work so hard for me.
I want peace, stay home, let’s see.
The people cry for peace.
Your own child can’t convince you of your intelligence.
Work for the department of defense, I don’t question your intelligence.
There is a question of intent.
You work so hard for me.
Your own child can’t convince you of your intelligence.
I’m not convinced of my own intelligence.
I work so hard for you, sanity that often twists.
This love of earth, art, and sex.
No longer funneled into another’s love of a scared text.
I love your God, he makes you happy.
I love you dad, one day come see me.
I’ve prayed to your God, he makes me happy.
I love you dad, no shame in weeping.
Written by Milo Palomo

Author Bio: I grew up in a fundamentally religious family, my father was raised Catholic and my mother, I believe, was raised Protestant. Not quite sure if you could call me a “military brat,” though I was born on Army installation called Fort Polk in Louisiana. We only moved around a couple of times while I was really young, but I’m the only person in my immediate family and often seemingly my extended family, that didn’t join some branch of military. After being outted as a sophomore in high school (2009) as the lesbian, my father only conversed with me about scripture. At the time it was heartbreaking to talk about nothing else with my dad but “my sins” and “the punishments for my sins.” Certainly feeling the deviant stigmatization while growing up. Soccer (fútbol) was my outlet and if there was hope to connect with my dad about something other than scripture, it would be a match on the pitch. I played varsity ball for my 4 years in high school while playing for club, and getting to experiencing Iowa ODP (Olympic Development Program) camp for 3 years. I knew my father was proud of my work ethic on the field and that’s what I held onto, even while my grades suffered throughout high school. After I finished playing my 1st and only semester of collegiate ball for Butler Community College women’s soccer team, I changed my name, and had top surgery. Not really thinking about when I’d find myself on the pitch again. Currently, I live in Portland, Oregon and I’m receiving honors for the work I’m getting done in the classroom at Portland Community College and have my eyes set on tryouts for the PCC men’s soccer team. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve experienced and the more meaningful conversations I’m having with my dad; while tapping into a love for poetry and writing that I wasn’t so sure was inside me all along.

Follow Milo:

Instagram: pilo_thegr8
Twitter: @MiloPalomo
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