Continuing this week’s Trans Pride theme, below are two poems from Stacey Waite’s chapbook love poem to androgyny, winner of the 2006 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest. Thanks to M. Scott Douglass at MSR for permission to reprint. Stacey has just won another prestigious award, the Tupelo Press Snowbound Series, for her forthcoming chapbook the lake has no saint. Put it on your Amazon wishlist today.
The doctor, who speaks slowly, after spending
quite a few moments to himself in his gray office,
says there is a strong possibility I am “chromosomally
mismatched,” which cannot be determined now
unless I pay for the test, because according to
my coverage, the test is not necessary due
to the fact that I am “out of the danger zone.”
The danger zone is puberty, when, he says,
“women like me” are at risk for developing
genital abnormalities. I look back at myself at 13,
staring at my body. And I think it might have
all made sense to me somehow, if my clitoris grew
like a wild flower and hung its petals between my thighs,
which were plumping up in that adult woman way.
The doctor is careful with me, knowing how my being XY
makes me a bad example of a woman, an XY woman
is an ex-woman, whose blood has been infected by Y.
The testosterone rising like a fire in her blood.
The doctor looks mostly at his chart, he wants me to disappear,
to put back, in order, his faith in the system of things.
He wants me to react correctly, to be ashamed.
I sit nervously in the paper robe, which covers only
the front of my naked body, the cold laboratory air
drifting up through the gown, my nipples hardening
like the heads of screws. He doesn’t know he’s given
me a second chance at my body. I think about the man
I could have been. I make a list of names and settle
on “Michael” after my father, who did not love me.
I imagine the girls in my high school I would have
been able to love. Michael could have saved me
from all of this, from the sound of my voice,
from the years of wearing someone else’s skin
in the form of a church dress. Michael
is the easier version of me.
When the doctor leaves me to dress myself,
I shove his crumpled up paper gown in the crotch
of my briefs. I cover my chest with the eye chart
and try to look for Michael. But he is not able
to be seen. He is out emptying the trash at the curb.
He is in me in the way that a man is in a woman.
Finding My Voice
When Dr. Rosen says he can “fix my voice,” he means
he will give me shots of estrogen that will surge through
my body like electric shocks, sending the hair on my chin
and stomach running for cover. He doesn’t want me to be warm.
He doesn’t want to listen to my large truck voice
fill his office like his soy milk
bursting up from his coffee’s deep bottom.
He wants to imagine me as an affirmation.
He wants me perched upon his plastic table
with my smooth naked legs, singing hymns
in the voice of a woman who needs him
in order to recover some piece of herself
that has been swallowed by the jaws of testosterone,
opening and closing hard like the doors of angry lovers.
He doesn’t exactly know that he hates me,
the feeling is more like gender indigestion,
how the sound of my voice keeps rising
up in his throat and he can’t rid himself
of the image of my lover who stretches out
nude in the dark bed, presses her hand
above my chest saying,
“talk to me, please, talk.”