You say, there’s more to being
a woman than hair and makeup.
What: swaying walk, tender heart?
My wife likes polish now and then—
a woman who’s never worn pink
or a push up bra. In the pool,
scarlet toes make me look twice,
the color glints like blood. I look
and look again, as when I eye your shift
from Bruce to Cait—your lifelong dream lived late—
I will be able to live authentically
as female, but I’ve missed so much.
Authentic: from one’s own authority.
It’s quite a dream to have a body that
does not get in the way of who we are.
I cleaned the whole closet out—the boys’ stuff
is gone. You wear your heart, let arrows
pierce it. My method’s blending in.
No gazing in the glass, and as I age,
I’m ever more invisible. Still,
it’s a different thing to take down
womanhood instead of build it
from scratch, a line drawn in the dirt
on which the fairness of the race depends.
I’d like to start anew. I’m a crumbling
bridge between who I am and what I like.
Here, take my skirts and tights,
the teal, the olive, and lavender;
take the scarves; my pillows and my lumps,
batter that rises up and over
the tin. Really, I wouldn’t mind losing the breasts,
their squish, their sag and flop—
but what would balance skillet-wide hips
and buttocks round as cabbages?
I’d shrink those too. I’d choose a boy’s
narrow pelvis, flat chest, muscled.
Yours, before, come to think of it.
Note we both said “boy,” youth and power
in every move. I don’t have to justify.
When every body’s a field of claim,
differences aren’t small. I know the itch
to float, to choose my sex and who I love
as I choose clothes, each day a palette
or a lump of clay. You want to be yourself,
get dressed, get ready to go out, and just
be like a normal person. I take for granted
what you’ve never had. Fairness depends on
where we start. I’ll see you at the finish line.