How I explored being polyamorous during a pandemic through poetry

Bex Brzostoski is a junior English and performing arts and social justice major. 

GRAPHIC BY SONJA ANGST/GRAPHICS CENTER

My nesting partner, our two housemates, and I had a conversation recently about how our house rules will change as COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out. I was surprised by the complicated feelings that the conversation brought up for me — shock, relief, sadness, and even nervousness. It was trippy to realize that someday soon, this is actually going to end. It was a little over a year ago that San Francisco went into lockdown, but this year has felt like a lifetime. This double-acrostic poem speaks to the tentative hope and joy of imagining the end of the virus. It is also an affirmation to myself that even if I am nervous about seeing people in person again, it will be okay.

This nervousness is mostly around polyamory. My “nesting” partner (a poly and relationship-anarchist term for someone you love and live with, in a romantic and non-hierarchical context) and I have had an open relationship for a little over a year. But because it has been too dangerous to go out with other people this year, we’ve stayed home and haven’t really had many conversations about our needs and boundaries in the context of our polyamorous relationship. So we’ve been reading “The Ethical Slut” together, a nonfiction book about ethical polyamory by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy. Our discussions about the book have made me confident that no matter what the future holds, we’ll be able to navigate new relationship situations with mutual respect and affection. As soon as it’s safe to see other people again, we’ll be one hell of a poly power couple. As a writer and artist, I create almost constantly and lately all I’ve wanted to write about is her. This poem is no exception, so please enjoy its unrepentant sappiness.

Reading The Ethical Slut Together During a Pandemic

I want to still be holding hands with you

When safety says we may sashay from our milk carton

Apartment into the germy arms of others, so we start

Nibbling at plans for love as endless as pi:

Three point one four one day we will

Toss our masks in memory-boxes — I,

Old-eyed from grief, and you, enraptured,

Lusting to slough off like old skin your ennui —

Imagine it: the sun on your unhidden face

Viscous as a sloppy kiss, and seize-the-gay

Eagerness in every joyous bar we go!

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