Poetry: Gender and Sexuality Issue

Graphic Jennifer Aedy

Carnival Mirror

By Antigoni Dimopoulos

The window of my prison
I’m the reflection
A distorted goal -maybe -almost -not quite

My trapped body In the glass of the Carnival Mirror Everything I am, But the flaws I am not.

Boy or Girl?

By Shelby Thevenot

Are you a boy or a girl?
What I really want to know is…
Do you have a penis or a vagina?
If you were to bleed for five days…
would you die?
Or do it again next month?
And when you sit down…
Do you spread your legs?
Or pee?
This is a very important question…
For I am your teacher…
And however you respond will determine what I think you can and cannot learn.
And I am your employer
And however you respond will determine what I think you can and cannot accomplish.
I am also your bully.
And however you respond will determine how I call you, “bitch.”

Another Blood Moon

By Shelby Thevenot

Strange folk come through our little town in the woods,
But none as strange as the Man Who Murdered Men.
He seemed to take such joy in drawing.
Blood, that is.
I saw him once.
The night he took his thirteenth victim.
He looked me in the eye.
But he did nothing.
And I asked him,
“Why don’t you kill me?”
“Because,” he said, “you are full of period blood.”
And he left.


By Diane Dollisen

Make no mistake: in the beginning, you were made for them.
Babe in marigold skin—just as they promised

and you had so much promise.
Memorized every ballad and every belt
in church basements and in odd kingdoms. They could not stay angry at you
when you cried
and every aunt and every uncle called you a Woman
before you met the scorpion’s kiss.

You were just a secret, they said.


This is how you survive: in the meantime, you play the game.
Scorpion girl in fevered armor—just as they prayed for

and you prayed for more.
Wished for hellfire and the seventh seal
in blue bathrooms and in poisoned woods. They could not stay angry at you
when you touched them
and every father and every mother called you a Burden
before you could show them how.

You were supposed to be good, they said.


Make no mistake: in the end, you are reborn again.
Woman gilded by time—just as they feared

so fear nothing.
Adjust your stingers and rewrite the scripture
above and below. They can hold on to anger
while you swallow their dead girl
and every angel and every demon can call you a Monster
because that suits you just fine.

They said you were made for them.
You were made for no one.