Where is the mind to go? After living so long it seems all parts of me are kinds of animals, and I’m only beginning to realize that living well—that is, harmoniously—requires an adeptness at zookeepering. I was not built to be more than a man. But I was the firstborn, born first as a girl.
Dysphoria is little. I look at my body and feel a kind of coolness. After years of mangling the gaze it has rounded back, come to stand with a neutrality only very rarely punctuated by longing. Desire is our nature and indicates that things are in place. So I worry less now. I think it can be named acceptance. Acceptance is an absence of tension.
The more my heart heals from childhood wounding, the more man I become. I understand that girls hold their wounds softly open or closed for a long time, studying and dressing them in ribbons. I understand that boys are taught to stitch their wounds shut as quickly as possible—and so men are surgeons and dogs that move quickly. Girls who become women or women who remain girls are curling snakes that confess, stretch, sing, and prostrate. Girls and women pray to many gods. Men are surgeons.
I grew up as a girl and soon I will be become fully man. Why? I was gravely injured as a teenager. Each time my mother wounded the girl I was, the shape of a man became more concrete within me. Gradually, the girl took what was left of her and handed it over to the man, and that’s who I was left with. Someone willing to be a master.
I approached my life with a knife. I began to demarcate areas and name parts. I began to develop sense and logic. I began to reduce complexity into essence. I forgot all the details.
Of course, I can stay here, between man and girl. This part I can choose. I can rotate my body over fire and choose which parts to cook. (Can you see how my language is a man’s? The grief might kill me—
Yet the heart. Perhaps the heart is still whole and beats like a girl. Shaking with weight. And shot through with light, so much light. Turning hard as stone as she flings herself right into—through the glass.*
Coming out on the other side
Wet, scaly, and warm
Rising from the water
Whiskers floating on the currents of wind
Wings dripping amniotic liquid
She opens her eyes and finds no moth. Only her body, another body she can have.