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Anti-Ode for the Transportation Security Administration

By torrin a. greathouse

The body scanner says my name & my flesh are suspicious
abandoned baggage. A voice on the loudspeaker says to report
any & all unaccompanied luggage it could contain anything.
Clothes, or drugs, or a body folded economically. Utilitarian
origami. Voice on the speaker says trust no one, says anything
could be a threat
. Best to report everything. The body scanner
names my anatomy—anomaly. I mean, even if a human
will mistake me for a woman, this machine is designed
to make less mistakes. Imagines my body deception, violence,
concealed weapon
. O, for a man’s imagination. I call this girl
-cock a strap & they assume that I’m strapping.
Armed & delinquent. Between my thighs a pipe
-bomb. Swiss Army Clit™. The TSA prohibits all sex toys
large enough to be mistaken for a weapon. Those considered
a danger to other passengers. Politicians are always trying
to legislate my cock. Call her a public danger. In one pocket I carry
a list of all the places she is prohibited [bathrooms & airplanes,
churches & young adult literature]. In the other, a list of all
the places I’d have to leave her behind to be called a woman.
I fly 3,000 miles to a place where no one knows my face or name
& joke that there is a boy I am leaving behind. Never say that his name
is mine. People assume that this name was gifted to me by no one
but myself & perhaps this means it is already dead. & if this was a movie
[made by a cis man] I’d cut my cock off. In the airport bathroom.
& that’s what I’d mean by “leaving a boy behind.”
My gender sharp knife & a wound. The sky below me, pain
-ted sunset. Artificial pretty. Impossible cumulus swirl
of linoleum & blood.





Listen as torrin a. greathouse reads,
"Anti-Ode to the Transportation Security Administration."

Added: Monday, September 16, 2019  /  Used with permission.
torrin a. greathouse
Photo by Tarik Dobbs.

torrin a. greathouse is a transgender cripple-punk & MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of boy/girl/ghost (TAR, 2018) & winner of the Poetry Foundation's J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize. Their work is published/forthcoming in POETRY, The New York Times, Redivider, & The Kenyon Review. She is the assistant editor of The Shallow Ends.

Other poems by this author