Trans* by Mary Meriam

An Ekphrastic poem inspired by Metamorphosis 2, by Thomas Terceira.

Kitty is my monument to selfhood.
Drown me now, sailor.
Fir fir fir fir, o little white blossom, save me.
I told them Love poems have no pronouns in newsprint.
She misses her mother, had a few surgeries.
Now these wings on my back and a mustache.
Now she’s telling me her dreams and nightmares.
Just get off my back, this is my map.
Sleepy, erudite, easy, ooooo, bat legs, foxy.
It shares a language, it speaks for the self
and for more than the self; it speaks for the culture.
No way will I have a birded head or be suppressed,
restricted, criminalized.
“And that night, they were not divided.”
The poem serves as a substitute culture
with towns and cities of selfhood.
Then she starts blooming into a striped wallflower.
No one could look at the brown blind little creature.
Gertrude, what is trust? A haphazard dynamic.
Take this red road to Rahway. You will find the sticks.
The sticks will be bats. Toss them into the sea or hit homers.
The tiny, starving, thirsty, trampled plant is trust.
Trust is a mother holding her infant.
We learn the extent of our comfort in her arms.

 

 

First published in Ekphrastic Review.

 

 

Mary Meriam is the founder of Lavender Review, cofounder of Headmistress Press, editor of Irresistible Sonnets, and author of The Lillian Trilogy. Her poems have been published by The New York Times, the Poetry Foundation, Oxford University Press, National Public Radio, Penguin Random House, University Press of New England, Seal Press, and many literary journals.

Attack of the Fanatics by Mary Meriam

Detail of Sappho Leaping into the Sea, by Theodore Chasseriau, 1840.

Breathe, darling, breathe. I cannot
for the life of me patch the ocean.
Ghetto on the fraught sea, blinding.
Did they question the men also?
Or did they only question the women?
The lesbians are policing the lesbians.
Who are you? How do you define yourself?
I list weakly as the interrogators
peer through my telescope backwards.
I am all adrift in the spring fog, trembling.
Port to starboard, keel to mast, mainstay,
my sails a-shiver in the salt-stained waves,
I am unknown to myself, with only a word
my sisters found on Lésvos and gave me.

 

 

First published in The Gay & Lesbian Review.

 

 

Mary Meriam is the founder of Lavender Review, cofounder of Headmistress Press, editor of Irresistible Sonnets, and author of The Lillian Trilogy. Her poems have been published by The New York Times, the Poetry Foundation, Oxford University Press, National Public Radio, Penguin Random House, University Press of New England, Seal Press, and many literary journals.