“By the way, it’s They/Them/Theirs”

By

By DARIUS JOHNSON

Parentheses: “a word, clause, or sentence inserted as an afterthought
into a passage that is grammatically complete without it”

i looked at my body and asked it
what it needed to be complete—
and it sighed …
a heavy ,wheezing  sigh…
bereft of comfort and bereft of hope,
a sigh like someone carrying too much.
like an expectation…
or a dick—
or a dick that comes with expectations.
a sigh like stuck, sigh
sticky air thick with a masculinity i don’t understand –
a voice not fond of deepness
a hand too fond of softness
it sighed like, lover inside you, sigh
who whispers your name as you ask,
but genders your skin
while it belongs to him ,
as if to say your identity
was a foreigner to your body.

the lover, inside you
doesn’t know how to ask for love
doesn’t know if language
will accommodate you
doesn’t know if: sex;
love;
romance;
will accommodate you —
it finds the pieces of itself it can breathe without,
the pieces of itself it can sigh, without
it puts its tongue somewhere where it will stay silent
somewhere it cannot be heard over your
mansplaining body
that is forced to yell Male before you can whisper—
human.
before you can whisper—
not really .
before you can sigh,
that tired sigh you feel, inside;
in front of your family-
or while
filling out datamatch;

I looked at my body and asked it,
why we betray each other
why my closet betrays my heart
and why my heart betrays my
family.
and it sighed.
it sighed that heavy, wheezing, stuck
sigh.