Carla Sofia Ferreira
In This Poem, Bert & Ernie Are Gay
—for my students
In this poem, Bert & Ernie are gay.
They are not happy in the old-fashioned sense;
and they are not Bert and Ernie: they are Bernie,
if you’re still searching for their ship name.
In this poem, Bert & Ernie make out on fire
escapes in the city’s summer heat, and they
go to pride parades, though Ernie has to drag
Bert there, with promises of porridge to follow.
In this poem, Bert & Ernie get married, and Bert
is actually the one who proposes, with paperclips.
Everyone on Sesame Street is invited and they
throw a block party so loud that the cops are called,
but in this poem, no one is arrested. Bert & Ernie share
an apartment, a walk-in closet, and a bed. They are best friends
with benefits: sex, healthcare, and marriage. They share stories
of people who used to whisper and how they had to play pretend.
In this poem, they are not imaginary. I would know since I made it.
They exist happily, cooing to pigeons in the park and at night, rubber
duckies glow in the dark of their warm and cozy room. In this poem,
Bert & Ernie are gay and beautiful and ordinary and they are on your TV.
Carla Sofia Ferreira is the daughter of Portuguese immigrants and a teacher from Newark, New Jersey. Author of the chapbook Ironbound Fados (Ghost City Press), her poems and book reviews, recent and forthcoming, live in such lit communities as Glass, Cotton Xenomorph, The Rumpus, and The Denver Quarterly. She has received fellowships and scholarships from Winter Tangerine's workshop at Poets House, Rad(ical) DreamYard Poetry Consortium, and the Sundress Academy for the Arts. Currently, she teaches honors English to freshmxn & English language development to recently arrived immigrants in the Bay Area. She believes in kindness, semicolons, and that ICE needs to be permanently abolished.