“Even in the race-sore seventies / on Chicago’s South South Side, no one minded / this one rupture, this one tear in the / taut dictates of order: that he was black / and I was white. But they wouldn’t tolerate / our queerness.” (Dordal, 22)
This quote correlates directly with Michael Warner’s analysis on what “normal” is; specifically, the idea of normality of marriage. In “Sixth Grade,” Lisa Dordal recounts a “marriage,” that happened between her and another classmate, Bruce. There is a sense of creating normality within the abnormal; although the marriage is interracial, the other kids in the poem do not mind, because Dordal and Bruce are creating a “heterosexual marriage.” The important phrase to note in this quote is “this one rupture, this one tear,” as it correlates to the idea of normalcy for this town, between relations of black and white children. The other kids forgive this “rupture,” because they are avoiding a much larger rupture in society.
Indeed, this poem asks society where it draws the line for abnormality. The “marriage” is set up in such a way, that even the outfits both Bruce and Dordal wear are under scrutiny. This importance to detail makes the event authentic, because it needs to be official. Perhaps the children want this to be official, because then they will not have to wonder whether Bruce or Dordal are queer; the two did get married, so it has to be an official statement for who they are. This may be why the next poem is about Dordal’s actual marriage to her ex-husband; why would she not marry a man later in life if, as a child, she married a male classmate?