Pre-Top Surgery Pantoum

by KB

I was never taught to grieve unwanted attachments.
What do you do when your body becomes distant?
Therapists tell me it’s only a side-effect of trauma —
craving constriction & feeling every breath I take.

Love is not the same thing as becoming distant.
It is not a band-aid for fleshly problems. Surgeons
tell me I need a diagnosis for actions I take
to turn into someone I recognize in mirrors.

I lie my chance of sensation in the hands of a surgeon;
tell him the measurements of my lifelong problems.
Flesh lies to my face, even after I clean my mirror
& look at augmented-me for the last time.

To be alive is to be scarred & riddled with problems.
To be dead is to give up ideas for birth. Google says
that every cell in my body has a finite span of time
except the mind; I’ll always grieve unwanted attachments.

KB is a Black queer nonbinary poet, editor & postsecondary ed professional currently based in Austin, TX. They have received fellowship invitations from the Vermont Studio Center, Lambda Literary, and elsewhere. Their poetry appears in The Cincinnati Review, The Matador Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Shade Journal, and other pretty places. If you got this far, see them talk sweetness, poetry & other nonhuman things on twitter, instagram, or facebook. They think all your dreams are possible.

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