Six poems by Aimee Herman: Part one
that film strip
You were absent that day there was a filmstrip on how to get through all this.
You were absent that day they taught about blood, bisexuality, and body hair.
You were absent that day they explained how to survive an internalized attack.
You missed out on a presentation on safe oxygen intake and the symptoms of geniophobia.
You never learned how to properly handle men or the aftershock of aged parts.
You often forget to wash your hands because no one advised you on this.
You missed the tutorial on how to insert a tampon, make a proper casserole and the dangers of oral sex.
You haven’t owned a hairbrush in over a decade. You have more knots on your head than historical dates memorized. You were absent that day, remember?
You rarely look both ways when crossing intersections. You forget about stop signs and traffic lights because, again, you were absent that day.
You were absent that day they talked about appetite suppressants, strength training and the appropriate presentations of assigned gender. Yes, you’ve experimented with hair barrettes, but you still do not understand control-top pantyhose or garter belts. Must I remind you, you were absent that day.
You were told it was epic. You were told that filmstrip addressed every topic you always wondered about: the consideration of hymens, toxic shock syndrome and preservatives. Why did you have to be absent that day?
Three people fainted. But their collapse may not have been connected to the filmstrip.
Everyone was quoting it! Some had even created parodies. You tried to memorize the summaries but everyone spoke too softly to be remembered.
You had stomach flu or a test you forgot to study for, one of which caused you to be absent that day.
There was no make-up day to watch it.
Some say that filmstrip no longer exists. Some tease that it never did and that day you were absent was nothing special; you are just looking for a reason to understand not knowing.
here is how I lived in my body that day
It was a day unlike Sunday, but it was Thursday and it was raining but it felt like sunburn. There were bees dressed as mayflies and there were two humans dressed as three puddles placed in the middle of a forgotten street in the summertime, but it felt like three weeks before winter. All the shop windows revealed reflections of hummingbirds and hunger pains and everyone forgot to notice the signature in the corner from the one who arrived at all this imagination. At two minutes past four in the afternoon, someone tripped over a collection of bones in the shape of a singing gazelle. Later on, there was a bruise sharing the colors of fuchsia and slate strung in the sky like a constellation that no one seemed to care about. Reluctantly, there was a conversation about bulbs forgotten in flowerpots, left by a compost station near a market on a Wednesday that could have been a Saturday, but was not. That is how I lived in my body on that day.
Aimee Herman is the author of two books of poetry, meant to wake up feeling (great weather for MEDIA) and to go without blinking (BlazeVOX books). Aimee has been published in various journals and anthologies including Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics,Bone Bouquet and cream city review. In addition to being a writer, Aimee is a professor at Bronx Community College and with Poetry Teachers NYC. For more words, go to: aimeeherman.wordpress.com.