observation: i’m starting to look like my dead cousin Mikey

because i’m on T now & we have the same glasses & the same chubby cheeks that get rounder when we smile. 

data: there’s a 10 yr old picture with me & his sister at Thanksgiving & she’s a prediction of a potential me. a future of lost baby fat in a turquoise shirt matching a turquoise silk flower clipped in my long hair. 

data: there’s a 25 yr old picture of her & Mikey sitting on a striped couch. she looks like someone took careful scissors & removed me from my own childhood album & pasted me next to Mikey. Mikey’s round edges & widow’s peak are ours. this picture is my aunt’s most loved photo of 2017. 

question (testosterone): is it normal to imagine your face has changed more than it has? 

question (dissociation):  is it normal to forget what your own face looks like & replace it with a 25 yr old picture of your cousin? 

question (memory): is it normal to forget how a boy who died over 10 yrs ago moved & if he laughed & did he tease me & his sister drawing big-eyed pretty soldier anime girls & did he jump on his parents’ waterbed with us & dare it to break & did he tug on my & his sister’s twin braids & did he know he was going to die & how?

thesis (ancestral): a trans boy realizes they look like a male relative & feels relief — like yes, they do belong to a familial lineage. no, they haven’t betrayed the gift of a first-born baby girl & a long line of birthed names. 

counterpoint: i was never related to Mikey or his sister. their black father is my white father’s adopted brother. their father looks like my black mother’s uncle. their white mother looks like my white father. their white mother believes in god & maybe so do i & i do believe in ghosts.

thesis (self-centered): a trans boy is also a dead boy they don’t remember knowing.


Miles A.M. Collins-Sibley (they/them) is Black, queer, trans, and sick. They write poetry to talk to ghosts and to fall in love. Miles received their MFA in Poetry from UMass-Amherst’s program for Poets & Writers and is currently a PhD student in UMass-Amherst’s W.E.B. DuBois Department of African American Studies. They are a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee whose poems can be found in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Black Warrior Review, Split Lip Press’ 2019 Anthology, Crab Fat Magazine, The Felt, Peach Magazine, Cosmonauts Avenue, TRACK//FOUR, and are forthcoming in Nightboat Books’ 2020 Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. You can follow Miles on Twitter and Instagram @miles_n__miles.