Ghazal Written for the Lids in Downtown Brooklyn Where I Chose my Name

Friday, January 15, 2021

I grew up poor, no monogrammed bath towels or duffle bags, nowhere to travel but into myself.
My mountain had so many small mountains inside of it, and I had breasts. If I had to give myself

any name then, it would have been hunter or whittler or fire with only flint. Of course, I was stronger
than I should have been. Strength is the nature of a trans boy huddled over kindling, lighting themselves

up, into only ever embers. Sometimes I still feel like a woman, and, really, it’s not so bad if I’m alone.
I don’t want to live forever, but I want to live long enough to make people upset. It’s so easy to lose myself,

whispering sweet incantations for all the gorgeous trans boys left to die in the forest. Oh, winter of worship,
I’ve pretended plenty, and lying to my mother, if only for a few decades, was intended as a deeply selfless

thing. I don’t remember knowing my name until I knew it—a partner told me to keep the Y and that was it—
Kayleb, monogrammed onto a leopard print flat brim. Yes, it’s okay to love what you love. If I had to ask myself

anything, I’d ask, did this poem touch all it was asked to touch? Did it hold out its hand and offer something?
I’d ask, how about the length of my lifeline?                                          How long does this new name have?

Friday, January 15, 2021