“Kissing energy we call it.
But all they see is
This passage is striking in its relevance to the issues of the modern day as well as its tie-in to Mosaic of the Dark as a whole. To start, the words that seem to have an emphasis in these lines are “they” and “we.” This contrast of us/them is apt in Dortal’s book because of its closeness to the difference of being queer or straight. In this book of discovery, this theme comes up repeatedly. The “unseen..thing” of the relationship that these two women have are obvious to them but less so to those who are looking to hurt them. This “something” may be an analogy for what is nagging at Dordal as she looks to find herself. There is something different about her that prompts a feeling of introspection and is also a question but until she realizes that she is queer, there is a confused sense of kissing energy for her. What now seems so obvious to those in the relationship is actually blurry to the outside world, for better or for worse.
Even the wording of “kissing energy” invokes an inside connection. This energy is captured within a closed system of those who are connected. The outside forces may not be able to see what is happening within the system even if they can sense a connection of energy between the parts of the system.
In the terms of larger queer studies, this poem is connected to the tragic violence that many queer people face. “The Lies that Saved Us” focuses on the sense of insecurity that a queer couple feels. They “lie like Abraham” just to feel safe. Their connection is noted but is a case of mistaking their identity rather than who they truly are. People think the couple are sisters and think they “have figured out some secret code” when the couple plays along. This line just serves to reinforce the misconceptions that queer couples may feel obligated to uphold to protect their safety. Once again, this plays to the trope of the collection of poems about identity—hidden and otherwise. These women “know the power in things unseen” and are able to use that power to protect themselves as well as to seemingly create an inside sense of connections that the world can misperceive.