Intensive Care

River woke up
with their name
on the whiteboard

a crucifix on the wall
their parents straight
from new mexico

we talk of poems
of estrogen, who
sent the flowers

when the nurse
asks me to shave
their beard, I do

when the nurse
slips a she in
my direction

I don’t correct him
River does, despite the
difficulty of speaking

I wish we woke up
in a different world
but we’re here

holding hands in
intensive care.

H. Melt

H. Melt is a poet, artist, and educator whose work proudly celebrates Chicago’s queer and trans communities. They are the author of The Plural, The Blurring and On My Way to Liberation. They edited the anthology Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation. Lambda Literary awarded them the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers. H. Melt works at Women & Children First, Chicago’s feminist bookstore.