Bill Tyne CC
There was a time when every line
I wrote was a liferaft
made to hold my sinking body.
There was a time when every line
I wrote was a knife
at the neck of the men who hurt me,
sharp enough to make them bleed
just enough to fill my lungs as I inhaled
the breath they took and tacked
to their walls as a trophy,
my breath sprawled on a wall in a room
where happened, my body
going elsewhere, into the cold
to the boy and the closet
and the drink that he offered
the next morning
of my bedroom
window open to the ice
body warming snowmelt
growing in a puddle from my boots.
There was a time when every line I wrote was meant to fill the flesh they carved from me,
was meant to write the story I didn’t know, was meant to fill the space in front of my lips where words were supposed to come but couldn’t.
I would say
something happened to me
and just saying that
took years of my life
no line can give back.
Why I’m Allowed to Sit with My Legs Spread Wide
1. When the cheerleading coach asks what song should be in the nationals routine, I almost
ask for the sound of my mother telling me once again to close my legs, the soft swish of
her hands pushing my knees together on a bus, at the movie theater, as we wait to hear
my grandmother’s doctor give us the bad news, at the funeral where the man who never
knew her stands before the congregation and says, “She would’ve offered anyone an open
hand,” and my mother leans over to whisper that her mother would’ve been gone by now.
2. When the cheerleading coach asks what song should be in the nationals routine, I almost
ask if anybody’s got a recording of the coach leaning her body weight onto my bowed-
out knees, the soundless sound of my ankles smashing the floor, the sigh of thighs
stretched so tight I forget that they’re a part of me and not just something to be proud of
3. When the cheerleading coach asks what song should be in the nationals routine, I almost
ask if I can bring my boyfriend to show them the sound I make when he pushes my leg
behind my head, how it doesn’t hurt anymore but I still pretend so he’ll cum on my face
and not inside me.
4. How this time, he cums on my face and not inside me and I think maybe if I let them
keep stretching me like this
5. Next time, I won’t break.
How We Go
for Haley Gabriella Feldmann
How the tiny paper circle guarding the bottom of the candle has, by design, holes to let the candle in. How I tried to let the candle in. How some years the candle can’t touch me where I go. How some years we can’t touch them where they go. How some years there are birds with them where they go. How some years there are squirrels with them where they go and bioluminescent algae spreading their message across the surface of the universe. How their light penetrates every plane of existence. How ours puddles at the bottom of a stone amphitheater and leaks into the cracks between bricks. How I leak into the bricks and don’t break. How our trans bodies hurt but don’t break. How some of us hurt until we break. How we break. How our bodies break against the shore, here alive and spinning, here water-tossed and gone. How the wax from this candle pools impossibly in the shape of a dew drop. How I tremor slightly in the cold but also because I want the wax to fall. How the wax falls down the side of the candle in blues and pinks and purples. How it cools at the edge of its own light and spills over the paper guard. How it trickles through the holes. How it runs down my fingers. How it burns. How burning, it makes me a part of itself. How my thumb seals itself into the candle. How I never let it go. How it never lets me go. How I go into the night. How the night lets me pass. How I pass through gates and intersections. How the drunk men watch me pass. How I pass into the safety of my car. How I worry at this passing. How I pass this worry between my fingertips. How I worry my frozen fingertip. How I worry my frozen fingertip won’t reheat. How I bite through my frozen fingertip. How it melts along my tongue. How the wax enters through my mouth. How it never leaves.
HB (they/them) is a queer, non-binary poet, artist, and friend to small children. Some of their poems have found homes in Bullshit Lit’s Horns Imprint and voidspace_, while others continue to haunt the countryside. If you listen closely, you can hear them crooning. Find HB (and their poems) on twitter @TalkingHyphae
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.