Oops...I think I caused COVID-19
December 2019, I asked God for a break from being trans.
January 2020, COVID-19 reached the US.
“Anything can be borne for a while.” –Emma Donoghue, Slammerkin
With a field of larkspurs for an office and birds
for coworkers, I cease chest binding overnight.
In the uncurling air, gender fades, asymptomatic.
I unravel. My shoulders forgetting the aches,
my skin no longer itching with seam-embossed bruises,
I turn onto my back in the moist mouth
of a valley to drift into the tensely languid eyelids
of God. But I wake to racism. Sneak attacks
against LGBTQ rights. Too full of being a person,
I’m tempted to let go. I want to imagine a world
where everyone brings their neighbors food and toilet paper
and is willing to soften themselves in the sudden face
of minor departures from conformity. You’re unnatural,
I’m now told through social media, instead of to my face.
Abomination. The embodiment of sin.
I hate you for not being the normal way to be.
Kneeling, brow browning on the ground, hands reaching
for the One who doesn’t know how not to love me,
I’ve never felt Him so intensely. And with Him,
I’ve never felt so human, and tiny.
I wonder if He’s normal. Natural. The phone rings.
I’m sorry but all trans surgeries are delayed indefinitely.
Punched to the gut, I can’t breathe straight. I dream
only of entering the transgender clinic clutching
a breast in one hand and my kitchen knife in the other.
Cut me open already or Lefty gets it! Or maybe,
Just chop off my breasts and no one gets hurt!
It’s inhumane, a kind of torture, forcing someone to sit tight
in an incongruous body. I’ve never felt so close to striking
the ground, screaming, and performing a grand jeté stage left
off a cliff. My thoughts grow wild inside me, gnawing beasts.
Eager to escape selfishness, or at least selfness, I turn my hammock
to the Qiblih, fall through the Tablet of Ahmad, and end up living
inside the twelve Detachment Prayers and seeing better my flaws.
A kind of presence infects me, firm and gentle, mine and not.
I give my self to it. Full of emptiness, I find a new kind of calm.
This poem first appeared in Ariel Publishing, LLC