This week, a poem by Shane Allison.



When I told my Mama I wanted to donate my organs,
she said, “No, you don’t want to do that.”

Tonight over hamburger, tomato paste and macaroni shells,
I mentioned it again; cuz the first time always deserves a sequel.
Told her I was serious and didn’t get the idea from a commercial
or some Made-for TV-Movie.

She said, “Yeah, but the thing is, why you want to go give away your
organs like that?” She once described them as the “meat” of the body.
She made me think of pig innards and chicken gizzards.

Her question was a brick thrown in the face.
“I could understand if it was family, but to give ya meat
to somebody you don’t know? What if it’s a white person,
you know how they treat us?”

As she mixed cans of tomato paste, steamed shells into cooked ground beef,
all I could think about were surgeons slicing into me like a pork roast,
removing pancreas, liver, the heart of me. Replacing third degree burns
with entire layers of skin. But Mama’s words didn’t change my mind.

I still want the blind to have the corneas of my eyes.
My bones to the boneless.

Now I gotta find another family member to sign the papers
cuz Ma doesn’t like the idea of my heart beating in the chest of a white person.
Haven’t told Daddy about this yet. Doubt he’ll care.
Much like a lot of choices I make.


SHANE ALLISON has had poems grace the pages of Fence, West Wind Review, Puerto Del Sol, Mississippi Review, New Delta Review and many others. His debut novel, You’re The One That I Want, will be published next year from Strebor Books, and his new memoir Remembered Men will be out this year from Queer Young Cowboys. He is at work on a new novel. He lives and loves in Florida.

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3 Responses to “A Poem by Shane Allison”

  1. 31 July 2015 at 12:32 PM #

    What a wonderful poem! And so appropriate for these awful times of racial injustice and unrest that we find ourselves in.
    “I still want the blind to have the corneas of my eyes.
    My bones to the boneless. ”
    These generous words brought tears to my eyes.
    Thank you, Shane. You give me hope.

  2. 31 July 2015 at 6:42 PM #

    Hats off once again to Shane, not only because this newsletter is a feather in the cap for LGBT writers, but due to the deceptively simple directness of Shane’s writing. He is a master of many voices and it’s great that LAMBDA has chosen a not specifically “gay” poem, while certainly one that is all human.

  3. 31 July 2015 at 11:57 PM #

    Yes, this is truly beautiful. Thank you, Shane, for sharing this gorgeous piece of writing.

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