looking back now

is not the same as

it used to be.

what was a symptom, what

was a sign that things

weren’t okay, what

could I have done

to not end up here?

some things are inevitable

but I can’t help but wonder

if my failures

if my fractures

could’ve done anything

but drown me.



purple and white and uneven

lines settle on my hips,

like the birds resting on the wire

across the street.

ashamed, hiding for so long

with the shadows in my head–

I had no idea what

to say to them, to justify, to defend,

but they are just birds

and I am just human

and in the end, does it matter?

I am alive, and I have fought monsters

every day of my life and am still

alive to tell the tale.

and these?

these are just reminders of everything

I have lost and everything

I have become

and so I’m going to do what I damn well please

and wear my battle scars

with pride.


dear mama,

dear mama,

the head fell off my doll

and inside it were misery

and company

and we had a tea party

and now

I am broken


dear mama,

you looked at me again

and I’ve eaten nothing


are you proud of me


dear mama,

I don’t know how to tell

you this

but I am broken

and you have not bothered

to sew me together.

dear mama,

my doll is missing her head

and I am missing mine.

dear mama,

it rained again last night

and dripped through the roof

down my cheeks.

dear mama,

are you dancing?

I’ve never been good

at dancing.

dear mama,

I am tired and

there are thoughts

in my head

that are not my own.

dear mama,

I don’t know

who you are


dear mama,

the head fell off my doll,

and so I decided

to cut off

my own

so that

we could dance





I am scared of nothing

but leaving the house each morning.

I am scared of nothing

until I remember that in the news

people like me are dying.

I am scared of nothing

but then I hear, over and over:

another woman pulled

out of a bathroom stall,

pants around her ankles,

to be beaten to death;

another couple, shot from behind

for holding hands

over the table;

another teen suicide,

brought on by bullying that was


because somehow it was okay,

so long as he was different;

another child wandering the streets,

kicked out of their home

for speaking their truth.

If I were in Russia, I would be

in a concentration camp.

My family would tell me,

over the table,

that they would kill anybody

with their bare hands

for being gay.

If I were in Indonesia,

I would be taken from my home,

detained, publicly lashed.

If I were in Egypt, in Kenya,

in Uganda, in Zambia,

I would be forced an examination

to test for homosexuality.

There are things I have never had to go through.

There are things I have never had to hear.

But I cannot leave my house

with my safety guaranteed;

I cannot hold my partner’s hand

walking down the street;

I cannot use the bathroom

whenever I need to;

I cannot live my life

the way that many people do.

I am scared of nothing

until I remember

that the world

is scared

of me.

Unfortunately, all events listed are true. Read more about hate crimes against trans women here and the story referenced in the poem here and here; LGBT teen suicide and bullying statistics here and here; the story about the young lesbian couple shot here; LGBT homeless statistics here; news about the Russian concentration camps here, here, and here; a young Russian man talking about his experiences here; news about a couple detained in Indonesia here; and the forced examinations can be read about here.