I called my nana last night
singing happy birthday
and she replies with delight.
She asks how I’m doing,
what summer trips I have planned,
conversation flows smoothly
until it stops…

“How did you refer to her, again?”
my nana asks after telling her
I was traveling with them,
a friend.

“They’re nonbinary.” I reply.
My nana is silent, except for
a judgemental hum.
Then that conversation
is pushed to the side.
We continue talking,
like something earthshattering
hadn’t just been left on the wayside.

I came out to her
a couple summers ago now.
Not fully, just told her I was Bi,
that I liked women and guys.
She was confused,
“How does that work with your husband?”
“I can love him and be attracted to women,
just because I like the same sex too
doesn’t mean I won’t love him through and through.”
It was hard to explain under her puzzled gaze,
like I was in a gallery on display,
awaiting harsh judgment or praise.

She told me she would always love me,
“…no matter what.” Yet, love and understanding
don’t always go hand in hand. It is easy to love.
Harder to rewrite your beliefs so that you see
the true self within me.

I have no idea how to tell her,
that I’m nonbinary too.
I haven’t told any of my blood,
except my loyal brother
who loves me through and through.

Should I tell my whole family tree
who I am, or keep it inside,
until they all die?
Would telling them
truly render me free
or cut down the tall trees
and cause deforestation
all around me?