he checks to see if anyone's looking
before he hikes his pants up
and adjusts his breasts underneath the button-down shirt
and skirts around the topic of his first
cub-scout experience in casual conversation with strangers who want to know.

he's immature and loud
louder
louder than he's ever been before, because
he feels he has a secret that he doesn't want to hide
but can't reveal for fear of
rejection and
male pride and
he's walking so quietly on the eggshells he refuses to move
because gender
is not something to change
or rename.
and it's true.
he knows this, but still he sways
and laughs effeminate, giggling, wondering
why he can't stop crying.

he was born a dick named jane,
and since birth he's been clawing his way out
toward the sun and
a son he can't believe himself to be.
he pulls seasons past with fingernails
scraping skin on the way to changing.
he's laying down his weapons
in order to become one and the same
and son and boy and you, sir, fall on deaf ears
because he's only hearing silence while
the unknowning weight of compacted words
bears down on his slim shoulders
and he's older than he remembers
when he looks in mirrors
and pictures a life less sordid
than what the photographs suggest.
the best years of his life are covered in cobwebs,
archived as evidence
of what he refuses to admit;
his past is buried as deep as his name,
(ashamed of the self murder brought on by
[the dichotomy of gender)
which rendered him lifeless and cold.]
he's told he'll be fine if he just lets it go
but they don't know it and
he knows it's fluid and final,
still the riminder comes every time someone looks away
and he adjusts his breasts underneath the binding.

he's lying, but
he doesn't know which way is up and
can't figure out which truth to tell
and how he'll ever
pull himself
out
of the hole he's been digging
since his parents taught him how to continue living
as the girl they thought they created,
the girl he rejected
bound
and hated
and cut and bruised and beat
and burned to learn her to leave him alone.

that will teach you, girl.
that will teach you to meddle in business that
isn't yours
and never will be.
that will
teach
you,
girl who walked tall and broad down city streets
broken by the sight of her
tall flat frame that felt so right,
learning quickly that she wasn't hiding
she is standing out,
out of place,
nonexistent
nevermind, she's gone...
he's a being all on his own
but she's towering over him
and his hands can't cover his breasts,
even when people aren't looking.
but he adjusts them anyway,
hoping that no one will see the girl beneath him,
hoping that no one will see her pretending
but not wanting to end the charade.
he's lost and afraid of
falling in between the binary,

but scared, knowing which side he's on
and years of abuse from a father
he never wants to emulate
sends him straight back to the girl who
layed in bed
cold, alone and
raped, lonely
no example for the girl he couldn't be if he tried,
shouldn't be if he wanted to.
he's not,
and he's not okay.

he overcompensates and laughs,
effeminate hands holding everything he holds dear,
learning how to embrace
what no one else knows he is:
he is
he
she
takes a hint when he takes a hit
from someone doubting his status
as a radical girly boy.
and her ears catching maam, and sweetheart and
she's gonna be a dancer when she grows up,
eating away at her.
she doesn't exist enough to care;
she is the he she never wanted to fuck,
unlucky girl to fall so far from the lines.

girl, you...
girl, you need to find
your body isn't this one
this time
and he clenches his fist,
grabgbing belt loops in tightened fingers,
holding grief and
pain and
shame and
strife, a
life in
chains, and
still at
night he
settles into
dreaming of himself
free, unbound, flat.
his chest heaves with relief and breathing,
fillled with the hope
that someday
he will
believe.

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