I’m having a whale of a time. But really what other options were there for a corn-fed queer girl smack dab in the middle of the bible belt? The answer is plenty and at first I dabbled in those: marrying a gangly boy who looked like a girl if you squinted hard enough, playing guitar in the church worship band, taking classes part-time. When the gangly boy ruined a perfectly good sleep pestering me for a baby, I responded by stripping on our apartment balcony and making a campfire out of my clothes. One dyke bar in town, and I ventured in that night and sped out on the back of a pretty girl’s motorcycle. Her name was Gloria, the motorcycle, and I called the girl Grace because I liked saying I was saved by Grace and we’d laugh until it was almost harder to knock off than keep going. The only living sound for miles. Neither of us had a clear plan, but one glimpse of the ocean in San Diego and I was hooked. Next morning while Grace was still asleep, I walked until I spotted one of those tourist shops on the beach. I spun the postcard rack around a few times and settled on a simple photograph of a blue whale. Something gigantic, alive, unknown.
Melissa L. Amstutz is a writer, musician, and bookseller at Powell’s Books. Her poems have appeared in Smartish Pace, fog machine, and the Collapsar and her music videos have appeared on Interview, Nylon, and Bust. She received her MFA from NYU and resides in Portland, OR with her wife, two dogs, and a cat. Her online home is melissalamstutz.com.