where were you before you got here.

“A liar can reproduce the feeling that a wilderness does. In Sufism, ‘the pupil of the eye’ is the owner of each member of the body, even the heart, and each part becomes a tool under its lens. It is in and through and with the pupil of the eye that the catch locks between just-being and always-being. The less focused the gesture, the more true to the eye and the heart it is. You are progressing at one level and becoming more lost at another.”       –Fanny Howe.

Here, I move forward. From this distance between gender of collarbone and gender of calves, I am noticed. I notice.

Everywhere in this body, trees. And all the branches that curl around me attached to the others are not attached to me.

All this skin– that will soon be paper– drips of rain and afternoon excursions. Sap replaces blood. Grass is my footwear.

I am itchy, but wait for a darling poet to lean against me, and rub out my knots.

This quest for love has gotten me lost again. This map is torn at the corner and missing a slice of middle america.

I’ve used my passport enough times to understand how to present it.

I’ve been hired as a muse. I get paid to read poems and _________ .

How many clicks of heel or appointments of analysis or carvings of life into flesh to prove containment of love for myself.

I asked them to fall in love with me again but my letter got lost and they keep moving further and further into the wild. There is no internet access in the ocean.

Meditate ten minutes every mo(u)rning, then fall asleep from the germs housing a riot in your body. Awake eight days later to lunch of salt-water diet and handkerchiefs.

“For some persons, meditation, contemplation, prayer indicate that there is an emptiness already built into each body and it is that which (paradoxically) makes them feel at home in the cosmos.”     –Fanny Howe.

How not to get used to all this. Stop reading local newspaper and internet scroll-downs. Stop passing by handsome humans without asking them for coffee. Make the first move sometimes. Live inside present-tense, realizing the past can still guide you but does not have to define you. Where there is empty can be filled. Do not wait for another to fill it. Every breath is a possible movement toward self-kindness and forgiveness. This body does not have to be labeled. It can gather up a respective blur from each intentional push away from gender-normativity. And when love is found, they will appreciate the way your bones articulate their political movement. There is no such thing as stopping. Everything continues…..so continue on.

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