I don’t miss the blood coating
inner thigh warmth: the first
of each month sneaking trickster
changeling through uterus & hips.
My wastebasket is lined with so
many costumes, underwear
worn & not worn, binders broken
& binders sewed. Ask a cis man
what’s in his dresser. He doesn’t know.
Ask a trans man what’s in his. Watch
heavy feet smother worn-down carpet
leading to the closet. He’ll open the door
slowly, stand back to let you
see. Watch him count needles,
vials, expired prescriptions
dating yearly checkups.
When the doctor asks me if I want
a pap smear because I’ve still got
the parts, she doesn’t consider
the humiliation, the emasculating
shame exposing me to my wife.
When the drive-through worker
calls me ma’am, he doesn’t apologize
when we pull up to the window.
Have you heard of phantom trauma?
The lick that’s not quite pain, imagined
grief housed in bones, undetected?
Silas Weir Mitchell would pay to study
my lips, my skin, my spine. I have given
good money to shed my lips, my skin,
my spine. Still tiny tremors & earthquakes
touch my hips. Still I feel the seismic.