By Willy Palomo

When Dillon Taylor lay outside 7-Eleven on an August night, I was the song spilling out of his headphones. Before his family could afford a drum, I was the broomstick a Paiute boy beat against his bed. I hang around Dr. Kristen Ries’ neck and am pressed against chests, frail but relentless. Once I was Mexico. Sometimes I still am. I am the silence in the bishop’s office, a prayer that lost its way but never lost its faith. I was not a father to Wallace Thurman, but the paper cut beneath his pen. Before you mispronounced my name, I was already sand. When Brigham Young said This is the Place, I was already here.

Willy Palomo is the queer son of two immigrants from El Salvador. He is program manager for the Center for the Book at Utah Humanities. Learn more of his work at