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by M. Rich

The truth is hard to bare,

so much so

that I take it to heart

I collect and bury all the realities

left unto me

piled are the memories

women and...

chatter after the one man

of all the office staff

is standing tall

behind the reception desk

grinning, his stupid grin


the silence has lasted long enough

for me to scream

but I don't

instead, I wait

and I write

I think about blood and gushing

things that my anger would destroy

I put everything that is killing me

right now into a poem

about your masculinity and male


while I wonder why

they care enough

to engage with you

and I imagine

you'll survive to be here a while

I on the other hand go

This is why I left, I think

Alone I am hardly strong enough to

shake you, you confirm this fear

I have to get over- it happened,

you saw me, held the door open

I said "thanks," in my lowest voice

and you proceeded to misunderstand me

I know because I've done it too

before the glare that kills you get nervous

and say "yep," while assessing the threat I hold you to

in my direction you point

the question always is who are you but an outsider?

what are you doing on the inside, what are you

staring at me for, naming me "lesbian," by, belonger

you wish to belong to you your world and I disrupt

the lack of danger suddenly because I don't belong here

you're right, you also don't belong here but you try

so hard to hassle them, because that's your way

and you annoy them, I can see but what scares me most

is that I've been there, hiding behind little girl giggles and

aimless aggression that I shot in your direction

intended, daggers through a healed wound

because I remember

I remember the discomfort and

I can reflect and relocate myself

behind that desk I stood years ago,

adamant about filing my status quo

as female, playing an imagined gender role,

dainty, yet brave, polite and all, yet powerless

scripted and defenseless, she chuckles

make eyes with the older receptionist

she knows, and so do I

but the difference is I can't play up

I won't lie

so she makes nice and I hate him and

next thing you know, I am leaving the office

that remains transphobic

I can't tell you how many times

since I got to New York I've been ladied

and the urge I fought at every chance I had to disagree

but bound I am to honesty, it's clear to me that "GENTLEMEN!"

isn't really going to funk the binary,

I am not here long enough to build the community that

I see so clearly lacking, where are my genderqueers?

Gender-what? you ask, I say "that's me!"

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