by M. McDonough
Scrape out the flesh with the back of your surgeon’s knife; keep the fat.
Render it over a fire of insurance denials & medical bills.
Make votive candles for your mother.
She will light them when she does not know how to worship the body you have chosen.
Blend some of it into hand balm for winter & lipstick for drag night.
Save enough to oil a gun for hunting the ones who are hunting us.
Take your old skin. Tan the hide in oak bark.
Wash it in the salt you carried for the dead who never made it this far.
Behold what was yours & what is possible under the right conditions.
Supple & bloodless.
Sew the leather into coin purses.
Pass them around at the next fundraiser.
Fashion them into a fanny pack which you wear over your shoulder,
across your chest.
If anything is left, bury it.
Feed it to generations of flies & roots.
These are your children now.
The ones who ate from you & grew stronger
When any part of what was you is amputated in a hospital,
it becomes the legal property of the hospital.
90% of medical waste is incinerated.
You used to believe dysphoria was a furnace under your skin boiling every mirror you turned to.
When your flesh joins the bags of old blood & ruined organs thank the fire for its mercy.
It could have taken all of you.
In my favorite dreams I put my bed beside my sister.
As pieces fall from me, I offer them to her.
I say this came to me but it belongs to you.
Please, let nothing here be waste.
M. McDonough is a queer trans poet from Denver Colorado, now residing in Phoenix. Their work often wrestles with questions of gender, grief, humor and tenderness. They grew up in the spoken word and poetry slam communities of Denver. M. worked as a coach for Denver Minor Disturbance for many years. Their work can be found in We Grow Anyway from Prickly Pear Press, Name and None, and Exposition Review. They miss Denver every day.around him.