I was jealous of my brother’s race car bed
and jealous of my neighbor’s swing set.
In a memory, a house across the street
is knocked down by a yellow construction vehicle
and I watch from my uncle’s lap
where we sit in the attic. He has a penis
and I have a vagina. In high school
I was so in love with a girl I started
to hate her. We’d hike in the woods
by the creek and she’d pee in the bushes
like an animal.
My mother taught me how to squeeze
the juice from lemons by pressing them hard
against the juicer. We picked slippery seeds
from the grates. The girl
kissed me once in a dream
and both our vaginas were clams.
People have stolen three of my can openers.
At a trans conference, I went to a panel
where trans people showed the results
of their bottom surgeries. They stood in a line
at the front of the room while we all stared.
If I had a penis I would definitely
not know what to do with it. The first time
I had sex with another trans man
it took hours and hours. Afterwards
I told him I had to go to the bathroom
when really, I went to the kitchen
to eat a bagel. My doctor gave me
a speculum to take home
and practice. There’s nothing that will
open me. I watch a video of a woman
getting a pelvic exam. Her vagina is shielded
by a thin layer of paper. How does she unlock
so easily? I once opened a can of peas
with a knife.
At the farmer’s market I like to watch
a boy slicing meat—
bologna petals falling fat.
to look at, to view. Nothing is real
until you get inside.
Then there’s the latin: speculum
“reflector, looking-glass, mirror.”
Row of girls leaning in too close
to the bathroom mirror.
There’s a doubling of me.
Dueling fragments. A mirror
in an empty cervix.
All the trans people with their
wonderfully constructed dicks.
My friend moved far away.
I’d still kiss her if I could
I pee sitting down over and over.
Squeeze another lemon—
fish a slippery seed from the juice.
I have a penis
and it opens.
Robin Gow is a queer and trans poet and Young Adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of Our Lady of Perpetual Degeneracy (Tolsun Books, 2020) and the chapbook Honeysuckle. Their first YA novel, A Million Quiet Revolutions, is forthcoming with FSG Books for Young Readers in 2022.