I have chosen the upstairs movie,
a classic, inoffensive,
and sit in the gloom
waiting for the violence
of the previews to pass.

Downstairs an overflow crowd
laughs eagerly at a travesty
of another way of life.
Their laughter
(I would have laughed too
if I had gone)
covers fears, longings,
which can never be voiced.

It covers a choice
perhaps thought of
but not made
and not to be discussed.

Laughter aimed at
the drag queen
transforms feelings
known by all
into those known
only by the outcast.

Lari Smith