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Ballad of the Married Trans Man

after Anne Sexton’s “The Ballad of a Lonely Masturbator”

The start of a journey is always lively despite

how not even for my wedding night did I shake

yet smile so sharp, a terrible delight

a cold, heavy sweat, even in this I partake

not the slightest regret. I clench my own bones.

At noon, alone, I marry the hormones.


On the car floor, your letter slides left and right

like rubbing hands, as though it, too, sits

fidgeting, unable to write. Restless as night

air burning with the murmur of crickets,

I cast off sheets as a July breeze bemoans.

At noon, alone, I marry the hormones.


The shutter’s sly eye keeps snapping,

preserving my curves for posterity.

Photos of others are far more strapping,

I observe them for hope, mine for hilarity.

I slip into exile as a king self-dethrones.

At noon, alone, I marry the hormones.


I fold, unfold, refold your letter.

Do I tell every friend, or only a few?

I’m ready for repulsion but I dread her

like kale. Who to tell? In the end, only you,

your inked words smooth as dark colognes.

At noon, alone, I marry the hormones.


My doctor’s congratulation is suspicion,

skepticism, and a tale of de-transition.

My signature murders the page, decisions

irrevocably made, permissions given,

my medical rights exchanged for baritones.

At noon, alone, I marry the hormones.


The phoenix feather slides under my skin.

Argent tiles blur brightly under sneakers

dark as beetles. I can barely breathe in.

Already, I feel powerfully weaker,

chemicals flooding, buzzing—a sky of drones.

At noon, alone, I marry the hormones.


The first time’s terrible, the first time’s the best,

twitchingly memorable, the white aisle, a first step.

I am the definition of stench and distressed.

Imagine me beautiful; I’m nature’s misstep.

I’m foreign pheromones, I’m unclenching bones.

It is noon. I’m alone. I have married the hormones.

This poem was a finalist in Florida Review's Poetry Prize and published in Florida Review, 2021. This poem was also nominated for the pushcart prize by Florida Review.


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