Illustration by Anya Baker.

Illustration by Anya Baker.

Open Up and See

I call myself girl sometimes.
When I do, all I can remember is the times when there were
things inside of me that I only wanted to remove.
I call myself boy sometimes.
When I do, all I can think of is how my body does not comply,
and how guilty I feel for denying the feminine power.
There’s a war inside of my head, and I’m fighting on every single front
I don’t allow myself to find a name just yet, because I don’t know who will win.
It tries to trick me into being something I’m not.
Wraps words around my hands, ties me down when I need to get up.
My brain is the greatest magician, tricking me into thinking
that I’m okay for once.
I should never believe it, it wants me to get up on the table and cut
myself open for the audience, but I’m not that
girl, that’s an illusion too.
If I cut myself open, I’m pretty
Sure that all I will find is broken
Glass and pencils, lost pieces of art.
No names, never a name.
If you name something it becomes real,
or at least that’s what she, no. he.
No. they, say.
Maybe I’m not real, and I’m only a figment of my own imagination,
created from nothing but paint fumes and old poetry.
No one wants to come to a show to see something that they don’t understand,
And my art gallery will go out of business unless I name my work.
Except I can’t name it,
because my name is not my name anymore.
Take the names of saints and place them upon my body because
only holiness will help me.
Fight off the vines that try to grow around me,
sprout back out of my mouth in the form of pronouns no one uses.
I call myself not girl sometimes.
I call myself not boy sometimes.
It still doesn’t feel right.
All I want to know, is the bliss of feeling safe
in my own skin, the sound someone calling me
a name that feels like home.
If I cut myself open, maybe
I’ll find something that looks like me.

By Rowan Atwood