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When you awoke from surgery,
you’d forgotten your first name.
I kept my hands on guard,
protecting the white paper—
stiff as old bones—from your eyes.
I kept my mouth sewn shut,
forsaking the memory of when we first met
and you were still someone else:

You, on stage, in a suit with a blood red tie
inspired by Poppy Z. Brite. You wanted to be a
psychic vampire, stealing the souls of
the men who had come before you.
Instead, you were a Drag King dream
I had that night, as the same blood
around your neck greeted me between my legs.

Eventually, we met. Cold street lamps
and the smell of tungsten by the science lab.
“They can synthesize hormones now,” you said, your
words an electrical fire. “I’m going on hormones.
I have not existed until this night.
Everything else was a performance.”
But the King, even under a dead name, was real.
Months passed as you swallowed a new
kind of ore and allowed your body
to transform. I watched as the blood red tie
became a blood red scar across your body.
I watched as your skin took on new life.

We reigned between the sheets. We existed,
together, as a tangle of chemicals,
for six months until the letter comes,
and all dreams are lowered down like a
drawbridge for a castle. Noon, Monday, on
St. George’s Day—the surgery is set.
Darkness takes you over. I am left on the
linoleum alone, a battlefield. I rise beyond
the smoke-filled alleyways, reeking of resin,
& become blades sharper than swords.

I am your knight, now. Not your lover.
I will guard you from the siege of surgeons
reminding you of your past lives as you come to.
I am your devotee, your patron, your loyal subject
revelling and honouring at the foot of your bed.
My love, my land, my King—I will take you away
from this landfill of disorders & wounds,
wrap a blood red tie around your neck,
& sing the song as the only thing you need to remember.



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 evedeshane.wordpress.com for more info.
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