by L. R. Bird

okay, okay, so he’s doing a poem about a girl and it’s a pretty good poem and he names her “chandelier” / says something about refracted light and his eyes follow me out of the room (again) and I want to name this follow “friend” after the person holding the eyes / want to name his name after a summer of doing poems about girls named “people” / how his pen sways the world-chandelier and I am caught in / the light / in the side hallway of our poetry-venue is a quiet dim and he refracts out of the room and grabs me like something breakable / breaks me like something light / shards his teeth and I bleed / but my skin doesn’t shatter so I bloom / into a person and twenty minutes ago he did a poem about a girl and I know I am not the girl because I am not a girl but he still calls me by this softer name because it is easier to get hard that way / to undress me in his head because he assumes I look like how I should / to forgive his hands for calling him faggot when they wanted the rest of me—boy disguised as a dress, girl and her leg-hair, her arm-hair, her hair-hair, and I think he’s scared he liked it / so someone walks by and sees two pairs of chandelier limbs tangled dishonest, and I guess they assume this friendship renamed, guess I don’t get to name what I want after myself anymore / guess, I guess, I guess, I—get into my car. my building-body suspends my ceiling heart / as if this was my first time being hung—if only I was a real chandelier, or a real girl—something too beautiful to ruin without touch. I drive away from the venue without looking at myself in any mirrors. the hickey in the center of my neck is the size of a child’s fist. at first, my partner doesn’t believe me. surely I hung myself in front of his eyes like a raw metaphor / let him do whatever his fag-panic hands needed to still wake up a person / how human to name a mirror after a friendship and attempt to find yourself in it / how brave to break me open in search of the summer-girl / the one with the breasts and small hands. only a coward would’ve / held me.

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