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On Trans

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The process of through is ongoing.

The earth doesn’t seem to move, but sometimes we fall
down against it and seem to briefly alight on its turning.

We were just going. I was just leaving,
        which is to say, coming
elsewhere. Transient. I was going as I came, the words
        move through my limbs, lungs,                mouth, as I appear to sit

peacefully at your hearth           transubstantiating some wine.
        It was a rough red,              it was one of those nights we were not
forced by circumstances                       to drink wine out of mugs.
Circumstances being,      in those cases, no one had been

transfixed at the kitchen sink long enough       to wash dishes.
        I brought armfuls of wood           from the splitting stump.
Many of them, because it was cold,      went right on top
        of their recent ancestors.              It was an ice night.

They transpired visibly,            resin to spark,
        bark to smoke, wood to ash.        I was
transgendering and drinking     the rough red at roughly
        the same rate           and everyone who looked, saw.

The translucence of flames       beat against the air
        against our skins.                          This can be done with
or without clothes on.               This can be done with
        or without wine or whiskey        but never without water:

evaporation is also ongoing.       Most visibly in this case
        in the form of wisps of steam     rising from the just washed hair
of a form at the fire whose beauty was                  in the earth’s
        turning, that night and many nights,      transcendent.

I felt heat changing me.                    The word for this is
        transdesire, but in extreme cases                 we call it transdire
or when this heat becomes your maker we say
        transire, or when it happens             in front of a hearth:

transfire.

Source: Poetry (March 2015)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Poetry magazine

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On Trans

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