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under the socks i have stuffed it into, the knife

sits, obvious in its silence, like my lover’s cock


      under her tights, and the TSA agent, gloved

      hands and careful rifle, rolls her eyes when i


try to explain. sometimes, when i’m in public

with people i love, i wonder what we look like.


      soft boys/ugly girls/faces unbruised until the

      cis man’s hands panic and suddenly we just


look like headlines. months ago, i took all the

knives out of my pockets and my girl and i


      gulped each other until her roommates

      banged on the bathroom door, begged us


to unsheath somewhere else– wincing

her cock towards my mouth, she asked


      my body to answer her’s in a language

      we invent each time we scramble


out of our old skins– an added week of

estrogen/each stitch i accidentally scratch


      out of my masectomied chest. now, in

      the airplane bathroom, my chest-scars


glow bloody and blue. i spread my thighs

and drool for a blurry cell-phone photo i will


      send my partner when we land. everyone

      i love wants to know why i didn’t feel safe


enough surrounded by someone else’s

weapons to leave my own behind. why risk


      my white privilege being drowned out

      by my trans-body. because i am taking


nudes in the sky, in a gender neutral bathroom

big enough to coffin me according to


      the government’s safety standards.

      maybe if i am killed, this is the photo


my funeral will PowerPoint grotesquely.

look, here is a bathroom i pissed and


      cried in and did not have to wait until i was

      alone to emerge and wash my hands.



L. R. Bird (they/them pronouns) has work published or forthcoming in Blueshift Journal, Maps for Teeth, FreezeRay, Public Pool, Alien Mouth, and others. They are a multiple Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry nominee, have performed for venues like The Bowery Poetry Club and Busboys & Poets, and occasionally sleep a full 8 hours. Site: birdpoet.github.io.