A Poem by I.V. Kallin

imagine feeling like this about yourself, and imagine

it well: i am a man with child-bearing hips

who will never deliver, will never be

told not to cry, i will be told to cry, to cry,

like a newborn splattered with blood--

i am to mourn and be soft as rotten

fruit but smelling much nicer, i am

a man whose womb unleashes every

month, or is supposed to, if

i weren't anemic, if my blood werent

traced with the family tree of

aggressiveness-- i am

not allowed to be angry. not

allowed to feel

negativity so at 11:32 i stab a cardboard

box repeatedly with a kitchen knife,

scream into a drooly pillow,

tell my therapist i'm not a girl via

2 text message, bite my fingernails

right to the quick, think about

my mother sobbing if she knew,

and my pediatrician asking my

preference of love when i was in

the sixth grade.

i will never be expected to man-up

i am not a man in the eyes of

anyone but god, my love, my

bound breasts, the dingy mirror,

and the dingier bedsheets.

Er(ror) (For)mat

Er(ror) (For)mat