the trees were dying again. i had been spending
more time on the porch than usual, letting
the early november freeze get the better
of my two hands. i was trying to think of what
i actually wanted, and all i could see were
those goddamn cheekbones. the arching
of her spine. i think my first mistake
was waking up & deciding to be a dyke
& then deciding to be a dyke who looked
like one. as you know, i wore my cuticles
down to the bare nub last summer, my teeth
chafing against the lining of my cheeks. when
i say i died, i don’t mean it in the biblical sense.
i mean it in the way where, sometimes, you
wear the dress because it is all easier. jess walks
into ro’s funeral, wearing their best suit, & ruins
everything. my grandmother met my partner
once, in the yard scattered with leaves, & they
did not exchange names. i stood on the porch
& thought of the day when my mother wouldn’t
be able to ignore the stones gathering in my throat. i
wondered if things would be easier then. i caught
a glimpse of my body in the window, & it
knocked the breath right out of me.
Added: Thursday, June 17, 2021 / Used with permission.
Lip Manegio is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated poet, bookmaker, designer, & dyke. Their work has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry,Puerto del Sol,Gordon Square Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. They serve as editor in chief/jack-of-all-trades at Ginger Bug Press & are the author of We’ve All Seen Helena (Game Over Books, 2019). Find them at their website.