Size 13 Heels

*Read at LOVE trumps HATE: poetry prose speakers on lgbtq equality event held at La Luna, Mansfield, Ohio 15 November, 2017.

I thought
man was not much different from woman
until I saw you changing, merging pieces
of your self with wardrobes of Madonna,
wearing dresses and glitter, high heels peeking
out from under the bed like a secret that
can’t wait to be revealed: a perfect birthday
gift you cannot wait to hand to the world!
gift that you hope one day, the world is old enough
to accept.

I have called it merging, but I should
have said revealing: you allowed your body
to belong to your mind, exchanging coarseness
for beauty one lash at a time. One stroke
of nail polish in your becoming. I realize
you felt each tinge of difference between
what we believed to be male and female,
of who you are and who you are
told to be.

I imagine the aghast of welcoming
others to enjoy your body, to look
upon who you are for the first time. Your lips,
red petals around the petals of another so
similar flower – No longer Judas’ kiss:
betraying, but the kiss of Jesus: healing.
A kiss that makes the jeers of passersby
not cease to sting, but at least
finally scar over.

I look at you from my non-trans male existence,
hoping you can finally feel the synchronicity
between mind and flesh, between organ
and desire that I have always known.
I have never understood otherwise, or what
it’s like to want to destroy the body because
you are taught that the body you love,
its make-up and dyed hair, is not
your body. I have never been instructed
to hate myself.

I have learned from you, that this has nothing
to do with X’s and Y’s or science. It is
all heart, all depth. You are no longer
the myth, but the fact embodied:
the guts and the machinery of understanding.

Reading “Winter Robin” at Community Forum on Addiction


 I watch the robin picking at worms beneath
the frost of a winter morning. Dedicated searcher
– I will find my vein and touch
the blood – firm,
tight transport to the heart.
Pecking before dawn, before
I head off to work. We are unsteady creatures
balanced on the frosted world – entering arm,
returning unfulfilled. Not robin: pinprick.
Earth or arm.

The bird and my body are sprawled
beneath that same frozen
sunrise. Taupe pile
of clumping powder,
wet sandstone, dampened image,
changing image into golden object. The Robin’s dull, kinked beak,
unable to stab, it rolls. Turn this needle gold. A pinch,
a soft fumble, collapse. Not collapse
but alchemy. Soften these iron veins. Treat
the arm like the earth, the arm no longer delicate,
hardened like the earth,
frozen meat.

sewing without thread. I once walked a road
I will never walk again. My footprints are still there, however,
deep or bloodless. My heels are still blistered,
the road has left its damage with me. Allow
this vagueness in my life, let me be
metaphor, keep myself safe.

When it collapses, it is a sinkhole big enough to swallow
the entire home:
mother, father, all. Man,
I’ve wasted a lot
of time not being forgiven.
I’ve wasted time not forgiving myself.
May there always beat stronger
may there be more graceful
not to absolve, but to cradle
and cradle again.
And once again to cradle.