I want the open door laughter makes.
Your mouth, a hive bereft of bees.
I kiss. I string the humming.
Here, the fearful backstage:
costumes stripped, lighting hollow.
Here is where someone’s hidden
the knives and the wind.
If we were to leave—if we were
to make a bed of sand dune
from this shabby stagecraft
from these lines, un-memorized—
I want the open door grief makes.
My mouth a nest of eggs, chipped.
You kiss. You guide the threading.
Praise be to social media for winging
you to me, O chimera, O paradox,
O symbol of this century where gender
is a threadbare shirt no one likes anymore,
but we can’t quite throw off—O rogue, O provocateur,
O whimsy—sometimes mistakes
are beautiful your half-scarlet ensemble reminds me.
Reports suggest you’ve found a partner
who finds your prismatic garments enticing
and that your left ovary
might function so someday your young will call
you mother and father,
call you Allegory, Union, Blend, Foil. Call you Coin,
Switch, Duple, Fusion, Songless: you sing only for yourself.
My heart knows
it can slough gender like feathers—
still, it envies the way your outfit disrobes you
of expectations, like paint
freckling a mirror.
Amie Whittemore is the author of the poetry collection Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press) and the 2020 Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Her poems have won multiple awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and her poems and prose have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Nashville Review, Smartish Pace, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She is the Reviews Editor for Southern Indiana Review and teaches English at Middle Tennessee State University.