I was the year’s androgynous progeny // spinning pinwheel sun // I come from blood-ringing
sugar // I come from a desire to bind books with human flesh // a library swells full of
unanswered tributaries // pouring out into picture frames // none of us were born with the beaks
we needed // thus morphed our stones into eggs // there is so much transformation // yet not
enough gauze // spitting out stiches // my skin knew exactly where we were in the night hospital
// bird cages hung from the ceiling // blinds drawn // while here you // you do not exist like that
// no one is calling to pick you up // oh you ghost of a night-waiting // testing an exhale // re-
learning how to breathe // what if you came from only one rotation of a moon // I stand in a
memorial garden hoping for bowls of rinsed headlights to eat // they say I am dying in a unique
// fascinating way // I say oh well thank goodness // only for a zenith do I make these kinds of
admissions // stopped worrying about dying // started worrying // who will be feathered //
I stapled my wrist to a telephone poll
and announced I would be selling all my past on Saturday.
Most of the town performs this ritual.
Cradling armfuls of species and heredity.
Preparing coffins for every single fork and infant.
I lined stuffed animals up in a row. For a few dollars
I will let you own the faint smell of my mother and
a quilt that comes alive at night and tries to heal you
with spoonfuls of olive oil. Then, also, the wall clock
only capable of announcing afternoons.
In my anatomy it is always 4pm. Socks knotted
into hearts. Come peruse my grasp. Will you
help me hold on tighter? A seed is something
scattered. Give me a picture of your baby self.
I need to sell it all, Dad said one year.
Stacks of weight watcher magazines. My hands
behind my back. Before I left, I wanted to
have a yard sale of dresses. Closet musk.
Moth-winged shoulders. Who would like
to become a daughter? I have everything you need.
Circling the trunk as the season made birds of us.
Children are conduits of beginning and end.
Return to the push-pin. A map of the world painted
on the playground asphalt. Moving mountains.
Leaves in our irises falling and turning to snow.
Caterpillar spring. Fur on our knuckles.
We named the two trees after the only genders we knew.
Boy tree. Girl tree. Lunchboxes in laps.
Legs crossed. Applesauce spoons. Climbing
the boy tree alone. Branches like Dad-shoulders.
Do all boys desire to pinch the sun? I reached
my fingers numb. Bark knit with insects. Threads of ants.
Cicada skeletons. Not yet any lanternflies
but their future like a reddening jacket.
Falling, to the dirt and watching as the tree too
snapped into himself. Became a stump. Body broken
and eaten between birds and bugs. Laying on my
boy-back and thinking of how tall the tree had been.
Robin Gow is an autistic trans poet and YA author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of several poetry collections, an essay collection, and the YA novel in verse, A Million Quiet Revolutions (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022). See Robin in issue Seventeen. WEB TWITTER INSTA