March 5, 2024

Graphic by Ariana Perales 

“To me the definition of true masculinity - and femininity, too - is being able to lay in your own skin comfortably.”

-Vincent D'Onofrio

In the beginning,
eyes open.
A light singes my pupils and I close them again.
I blink.
When my eyes adjust, I witness a world.
Howls and screeches slice the wind so loud that I wince.
A sharp musk seeps into my nostrils.
I am so cold.
The ground stings my skin,
but I cannot move.
My pupils fix to a metal tower,
With windows that allow me to peek into stories
Still in the process of being written.

I see a man and a woman embracing each other.
A cloud of warmth engulfs me.
There’s a dog chasing its tail.
My mouth shifts into a shape I am unfamiliar with.
A smirk.
I'm captivated by a father cradling his newborn son.
I feel confused.
I indulge in this sight for eternity, yet I could never understand why it made me feel lost.
A confusion concocting cautiously tempted me to turn my attention,
but I cannot move.
My bones - barbarically brittle - are missing.
My body melded to the floor.

Graphic by Ariana Perales

A flood of humanity burning with avarice
Rushes in my direction.
Gusts of wind brush my cheek while they pass swiftly.
Their pointy shoes and straightened slacks stomp centimeters from my face,
but I cannot move.
My heart starts racing.
I am stepped on.

Pressure on my back concentrates on a singular point.
Vertebrae are heaved apart, while the breath in my lungs is ripped from me.
My back is the runway for their one-woman show.

Arms are limber sticks cast to fuel scorching judgment
Legs are totems dug into dirt serving as a reminder of what once was.
They extract a vein, lacing it through my jaw, keeping my colorful vernacular muzzled.
My skull is the science project that they distinctly dissect
And probe to gain answers.
Answers that remain unknown.

When I close my eyes,
I dream.
I dream of being beautiful.
Sleek and shiny hair, long legs, and eyes that glisten.
I dream of being wanted.
An endless embrace.
Having a home other than salty concrete that claims me.
Of being loved.
Kisses from those with an unbreakable bond.

Graphic by Ariana Perales

My body grew chills as I dreamed of growing wings.
Of soaring above the world.
I begged to be resurrected.
I offered my soul to something greater than me.
To the goddess of power.
An eagle lands on my back, a conduit of this divine femininity.
She whispers in my ear that these legs, these hips, these collarbones
Deserve to be seen.

I am here, my child. You have spent too many years allowing this body to wither. Allowing people to dig their heels into this back. So I bless you, beautiful creature. With the power of bountiful beauty. I shall give you what you need to show this world your unstoppable power. Promise me that you will never stop strutting on the world that once did to you. You now have the power of mightily magnificent men and the whimsical wonder of wondering women. Use it and make this world yours.

My tears beg to glisten in the daylight.
I feel a tingle under my skin.
My body begins to rumble rigorously
Crackling with every twitch,
And I begin to grow.
Limb by limb,
I reach for the stars.

The eyes of those around me shift to my shine,
Like a moth to a flame.
This orthopedic exorcist has enchanted like a warlock of lustful want.
This clandestine doppelganger is who I have always dreamed of.

Every inch of my body, inside and out
A craving that I questioned deep in my soul for 16 years
Is quenched.
Harmonious hydration.

I cannot move.
But I can soar, and these wings
They can never take away from me ■  

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