Wait: because there is a promise her innards will speak

Begin in a place with no end
ask because no one knows they should
now because history grows sore on her feminine and there needs to be a remedy


One morning she woke up and spoke, “The most dangerous parts of me.”

Gather belongings: thighs, fragmented collarbone, cleaved lips, fingerprints, clumps of hair, dangling clitoris, breasts almost hauled off body, nightmares, the leftover pills, one pair of underwear without hem or elastic, a needle bent and bleeding, three bandages without adhesive, a condom, extra sweater soiled and weary, loose change offering music while the clank of existence hums.

Her name is daughter. At fifteen, she replaced chewing with swallowing.

The rain came/
wind pushed against her bruises/
too late for a sex talk/


And then

a climb toward her highest window. She could not afford a security system so
there was breaking when he entered


skin grows resistant to carpet threads against kneecaps
push of circumcised erection against unclaimed cavity



Talk about the time he / when he cut / called whore / loaded infliction inside and

Talk about the time he / all doors locked and your bag was / he said he would blur out your face and only show parts for purchasing


Talk about the time your mother approached you like a business owner
I made you,” she said. “I gathered you for nine months. Now

(I) remember…

smoked cigarettes delivered in his mailbox
stroked the cancer that lay benign in his groin
slept against the indentation his wife made in king-sized mattress
swept up reticence while he stole several slices of her my being


Several months later,

Drank orange juice and threw it down her my throat to gag his tongue away.


And then

He said “It is because of men like me that women like you exist.”

He said “You don’t act gay. I can tell you like it.”
She I envisioned his small penis as an oversized clit and bit down on her my imagination


It is different.

It is different when you are white / when you have a mailbox and home to hide in / when your water is turned on and there is soap to suck on / when you can stop if you really want to / it is different when you start to tell people and they ask if you liked it / did you fake it / what does your boyfriend think / husband / what do you mean you’re queer / trans gender / was it painful / and they ask, was it fun / and they ask, did they make you feel good / did you feel good / do you feel /

The men never ask what book she I am reading or / if she I voted for the right person or
her my stance on war or /


She I just wanted to know what it would feel like to be feminine:
pigment of wax hair inching past shoulders distance from floor to feet lace


Someone recognizes her me from when she I . . . .

The next day, she I decide to stop
a reverse strip-tease


She I miss the instability of her my body.

one last time she I whisper

because she I cannot remember what happened the last time
because infection arrives once and then it lays dormant
because boredom is worse than being breathed against by strangers
because she I worry she I like it


The next day, she I sit at a desk and flirt with silence. She I break a muscle in her my thigh from clenching her my right and left together. Then, she I was asked to read a poem. She I was asked to make supper. She I was expected to balance a checkbook. She I was forced to fuck five men in a span of four hours. She I was pushed against bricks and asked to smile even when the blood escaped. She I was persuaded to use her my cunt as a cabinet; with limited space, the objects just kept falling out. She I was mistaken for a human. She I was kissed as though her my lips were clean. She I was held. She I was burned.

What does it mean to be kissed with an instrumental mouth?
to be asked may I continue
to be told beauty exists where trauma ends
an attempt at love
(and there is always an end to a beginning too strong to withstand memory)

Begin. (because we need a reason to understand/ (I need a reason to understand)

Begin with the sound of envelopes unlatching / no, a mother unclasping sanity from forearms and cigarette-distracted teeth / or when uncle hugged her so hard the sound of tearing became familiar / and the first inhale of stimulants / or when she was told masturbation was a crime, so she was already a criminal /


There is need for binding. to strap parts down that have been misplaced, mishandled, misunderstood. to place make-up on parts that are malnourished, malleable, monsterized. to channel first love and think of her/him/them. when being fucked by strangers, creatures, owners. to forget where home is. Moldova. Tel Aviv. Mother’s womb. Orphanage. New Jersey. Manhattan. Boulder. A home. Room. Closet. To understand the why: too poor, too pained, language barrier, body barrier, abuse, rent, for passport, for family, for food, for drugs, to exist…

When I was twenty-six or nineteen or thirty-two, I was a crime. I began inside a body and continue the burden of translation. Here is my reason: loss of/ addiction to/ disregard toward/ removal.

Today. Tonight. In more moments that fit inside a memorial service, I think about the doorknobs of strangers and the moments I may not have exited. I think about the parking garages. I think about the hotel rooms. I think about I think about when she stopped having sex with me because my body reeked. I think about I think about the interruption of orgasm with tear loss each time I try to touch myself. I think about I think about what lays dormant in me and the fear that I will go back to it. I think about I think about how orgasms anger my body. I think about I think about the stains, my skin a giant rorshach and I am trying to understand it. And I am trying to move beyond it. I think about I think about loss of friendships, inability to access normalcy, a need to remove the real from relationships. I think about I think about what I keep trying to cut out of me. I think about I think about all those showers I had to take all that soap sopping up the shadows on my skin. I think about I am thinking about I am thinking about forgiveness.