Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

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or the idea of them

you are not empty

but you are not full of the self i poured in.

i cannot create you.


funny – a womb and a woman –

if i were one like they wanted

you could make me eat twice as much

just to take it all away.


oh! a familiar thought!

this body the host of a parasitic love.

but it’s too late, i was never her

and you are not the person

she could have birthed.


if i let my eyelids flutter

and blur what i see

then maybe you could be

a boy who loves a boy – me –

but if eyes are the windows to the soul

and mine are always half closed

i’m not sure you’ll ever really understand me.


so let me look –

you are taller than i am

(this is usually the case)

and you come off as braver, more sure;

you smile easily but only if they’re looking

(luckily i see this, when my eyes are open –

i’m not one of them so i see your face fall).


i was wrong

you are whole

but i was right 

you are not built by me.

and it’s for the better –

my creations tend to never quite


one about my body

i never know where to put my knees.

i don’t know i think my thighs have too much gravity whenever i try to lean 

a shin against something all i do is push one of us away.


i don’t know where to put my arms,

when we lie in bed i remember having to ask you, to tell you

i really have no spatial awareness 

you have to tell me where to put myself

that’s why i always ask

and i remember writing a poem or really just a line

i deserve to take up space

something i would love to internalize


but it’s hard when every time i breathe i remember the

two small turkeys strapped to my chest

i remember how funny i found it when we read that

now it’s just a less trans excuse to chop off my breasts 

and maybe then i’ll fit

queer enough queer enough am i queer enough yet


when i was younger i used to fall asleep by picturing assembly line bodies

all the different ways i could be put together all the ways i could be taken apart and

unbroken, fixed, made to fit

and the idea that i was young enough to still become something people want

was so peaceful.

what a way to drift into dreaming.


it’s too late now, i think, i’ve been in the factory too long

i’m wondering if i was discarded half done

like they looked at me and i was too stubborn couldn’t melt the metal of my arms

into the shapes they wanted, tossed me into the heap,

i think this one’s a dud

no one told me what to do when there’s all this want and nowhere to put it

so often i feel my heart reach past my chest,

but that’s just it, isn’t it? i’ve got my very own cage

to keep it locked in.

break my ribs, let me out –

what a cage i keep myself in.

let me out, don’t come in

i think if you take how i treat the lock on my door and zoom out

– isn’t that what you told me to do?

then maybe you can translate that into something i don’t want to say.

take, for example, the fact that when i’m inside

is the only time it’s turned in my defense

because i’m not worried about who sees me

in my absence.


ah, perhaps that’s the crux of it;

i’d rather you know me

without me having to show you.

maybe what this tells you

is that i want you to open my door

when my room is dark and

i’m unknowing;

introduce me to yourself,

open each drawer,

play my guitar and let your fingers

find the places mine have studied

and don’t ever tell me how you know.

because if i were there

i’d turn the lights on

and kick myself into corners – watching you watch me unfold.


and isn’t it funny

that this is how i tell you

that i’m scared to open up?

i always use the most roundabout ways –

i can’t just say i’m afraid.


i think i like that if you did go in

and i caught you

i could scream in your face. 

how could you violate me like this?

i’d yell,

the same way i did when i told you to do it.

i think i like that it means i always have an escape

if i end up bare and you

knowing too much.

i was not the one who opened the door.

get out of here – get out of me –

i’d say,

and i’d be safe.


a vulnerability that’s only accidental,

that you earn only if you want to know

enough to risk me saying

with my key in my hand

that it was an accident,

me leaving it unlocked and

telling you to go in.

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