Rewrites

by Kevin Kantor

Romeo + Juliet but this time
juliet doesn’t text back,
romeo embraces his bisexuality,
he + mercutio kiss a lot
+ no one advises a young girl
to drink all that nyquil

Taming of the Shrew but this time
no one is expected to laugh
watching a man starve his wife,
+ in the end, our fierce femme protagonist
pulls a pin out of her fascinator, stabs petruchio
in the neck + stars in the second season
of glow on netflix

Hamlet but this time
hamlet is trans,
a non-binary femme doing their makeup
+ asking themselves to be or not to be
because what is sitting down to a vanity
+ painting your hard face in its soft truth
for the first time if not
interrogating in your own mortality
+ this time the royal family invests
in some really good grief counsellors,
+ no one shames the young prince for crying,
+ the young prince doesn’t gaslight their girlfriend
+ no one dresses for their daughter’s funeral
because no one drowns
because no one is stabbed
because no one has to die

You + Me but this time we don’t define our worth by how well our bodies retell someone else’s story + we laugh until we cry + we cry until we laugh, because the binary of comedy and tragedy — like all binaries — cannot hold us + i embrace grief as counselor + i am not afraid to be femme + you are not afraid to text back + we throw a funeral for shame + we kiss a lot + we drown in stars + in the end, we glow every second of every season

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