AJ Mckenna

No Compromise
for Ava Rowell


I never thought I’d compromise. Never thought I’d change my mind
about us: always thought we were the consolation prizes. Second best.
I knew that they were better, unadulterated girls. It would be settling to settle downwith someone like myself. What changed? You kissed me,

and I thought of how, like me, you’d hate the hair around your mouth,
invisible but there to touch, and kissed you harder for it, hoped my lips
could tell you I know what it is to feel like this, I know
that you will not agree with this, but trust me: you are beautiful,

you will be given love, and you can trust
the quarter that it comes from, because I’m not here for ally points,
to satisfy a fetish, for a trans friend who can sanctify my Jenner jokes.
I’m kissing you because right now your lips are like the sea

I never knew I’d want to swim in during all my landlocked years.
And when I pulled away from you, not wanting to but knowing
that I had to let you breathe, I knew that you saw you reflected
in my eyes without distortion just as I saw me in you, and knew

I’d never settle for refraction not reflection.
Knew I’d never compromise again.



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