When Your Body Is Like My Body

On symmetry and queerness

Photo: Tanveer Badal/Getty Images

Sometimes when your body is like my body, we are queer. Other times when it isn’t like my body, your body is maybe straight. Like it’s having a period and mine isn’t. Or maybe your body is healthy and mine isn’t, or thin and I’m not. Queers are two bodies that are more alike than not, so we can’t be queer at these times. Queers and bodies are spacetime sensitive. Except when they aren’t and then they stay the same (depending on who’s telling their story), because they are dead.

But then, in time, our differents align and we call it symmetry even though no two things can ever be that alike even in physics (see: symmetry breaking). We are not twins or clones. We are not even related. Closely, anyway. Because all humans are more closely related than a family of chimpanzees. Did you know that? See, that’s another symmetry even though you knew it the other way around: There is more genetic diversity in a family of chimpanzees than in the entire homo sapiens no matter how different we think we are from each other. So even knowing can be queer — or maybe all knowing, all faith, is a kind of queerness. All of these bodies, these minds and souls aligned, moving, together, parallel. Symmetry.

People love to talk about lesbians and mirrors, but I have fucked myself and it wasn’t you. Not even close. You don’t look or taste like my mirror — most of the time. Maybe they are projecting their own fantasies. I am with myself all the time. I’d know the difference.

Maybe all knowing, all faith, is a kind of queerness.

I am a wife and I also have a wife. And like any other word, the more times you say wife, the more times you write it, see it wife wife wife, the more it disappears into non-meaning they already want it to not mean. So I say wife a lot. But that’s what we’re all fighting about anyway. They don’t like the word wife when I say it and mean it about me and you at the same time. They want me to adjust it, diminish it with other words that cut pieces away. They want to take the symmetry out of it.

I don’t like any of the words for what we are or aren’t. I’d rather be inside you inside me without nouns or verbs or especially adjectives. And not just what they tell us we do for sex.

Work published at Tin House, Electric Lit, Hobart, The Offing, Future Fire, The Toast. I research for Roxane Gay. | melissamoorer.com

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