Cover Photo: A bowler hat and a pair of tortoise-shell glasses floating against a clear and perfect sky; behind the glasses are a pair of eyes and eyes only, crying tears into the ether
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult

Love Me A Man Who Cries

I claw / against the syrup to love other men / for whom, bless them, a bird is just / a bird.


a moment like sea legs at the end of a bottle but one who weeps in movie theaters. At the radio. A kind act between strangers on a subway, a happy wind-danced pine at the edge of a concrete lot. Often, you may guess, I have been this man, thought it among my most extra and hard-to-love feathers. I claw against the syrup to love other men for whom, bless them, a bird is just a bird. And I have my mother to thank for this. Whose laugh lines like oak grain I also wear. Who this instant I wish I could slice through quarantine to wrap my arms around, stewing above her sewing machine pricking fingers to stitch masks for grocery workers. She smiles and tears softly at the weight of the sick world outside, just as she does in the produce aisle floats on, or at a sky so blue it just flat out deserves a cry; a simple drop or two to state it There. I have let it in.
Or, moments ago safely from the other side of six feet of air, when I giggled to her that I spend my therapy dollars unpacking a fear of becoming her while rejoicing in poems like this one: Thank god I already have.

Dr. Adam Falkner is a poet, educator and arts & culture strategist. He is the author of The Willies (Button Poetry, 2020), and his work has recently appeared on programming for HBO, in The Guardian, The New York Times, and elsewhere. A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Adam is a national consultant, speaker and trainer around issues of equity and inclusion, and was the featured performer at President Obama’s Grassroots Ball at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. He holds a Ph.D. in English and Education from Columbia University.