Size / / /

I do not want to be a butterfly or a phoenix anymore.
Give me batteries, recharged and full of acid;
give me decay & earth, roots and mud, or
a vicious lightning strike in a storm—one
that turns the ground to electric earth & pulls
the tree's parts inside out. That is my new
transgender totem. As if we need to take
spirit animals ("appropriated!" you yell
& I listen while writing letters to Thomas Harris
that he'll never read about his transmisogyny in
calling Buffalo Bill a deviant & never using "she")
away from the past generations to skin them,
and make them into something new. We cannot keep
stealing from other people and calling it our own. That's
what the doctors and the nurses and everyone else
did when they made us fill out forms. Stop
skinning your history thinking it will make
a cool dreamcatcher for your future. It's not cute & it won't.
Relish the skin you have. Demented and scarred.
Plain and stretch marked. Tattooed, of course.
Forget the birds and the bats and the king rats
you feel yourself you are. Remember your bones.
Remember your tomes of identity, and whittle it down
to the ink inside your skin. Marrow. We are not hollow
at our cores, but I assure you, no one—not animal
not beast, not me—is trapped inside anybody anymore.

Evelyn Deshane’s creative and nonfiction work has appeared in Plenitude Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, The Atlantic, Lackington’s, and Bitch Magazine, among other publications. Evelyn (pron. Eve-a-lyn) received an MA from Trent University and is currently completing a PhD at the University of Waterloo. Evelyn’s most recent project #Trans is an edited collection about transgender and nonbinary identity online. Visit for more info.
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