“Closer to the Sky” by Georgina Li from Best Gay Romance 2013 (Cleis Press). Edited by R. D. Cochrane and Timothy J. Lambert.

Let’s not pull punches. This is gay erotica at its very finest. Nothing here is implied, and it is beautiful. Vivid. Poignant. Evocative.

While watching Steve Grand’s self-produced country music video “All American Boy” on YouTube recently I had a strange, déjà vu-like sensation. I didn’t understand what triggered it until I re-read this story to write this review. The characters in Grand’s video reminded me a lot of the main characters in this story. There’s a bonfire and other people milling around, and it’s not at all clear how they are going to react if and when they realize what’s going on with the main character and the object of his affection. They are eerily similar.

This was an excellent choice to be the second story in the 2013 anthology. Unlike Neil Plakcy’s “The Baker”, which sweetly draws you in, Georgina Li’s “Closer to the Sky” grabs you by the wrist, pulls you down onto the grass, and refuses to let you go.

But why would you want it to?