A Poem by Robin Gow:

The Contortionist(s) 

            After Greer Lankton 


You take the new moon between your legs

and do a hand stand. In the corner,

your gender promises you it’s almost over.


When I was a child, I loved to play with my video camera.

It had little tapes full of my fingers. Our voices 

turned into black birds. I pretended to be a boy

pretending to be a girl pretending to be

a music box.


We are having company over tonight.

The company is ourselves.


Spread your legs apart and squat. Now you are ready

to carry the sky as far as it needs to go tonight.


The last window died this morning.

A little elegy and then we all went into our boxes.


No one else will ever visit this room.


Your gender says, “Another” and then “Another.”

Keeps telling you new poses. You don’t want

another pose you just want a body for once.

Your gender promises this is how

you will become real.


You stand on your head so long 

it becomes your stomach.


Lay down to sleep and wake up to find yourself

climbing a ladder again. There is always

another building in need of an acrobat.


How much of my life have I spent

fitting into the questions of a room?


The floor begs for more.

Your gender in the corner is not your mother 

or your father but truly your gender. Crosses his arms.

Waxes their legs. Shaves her face. Points to you

and says, “Start again.”

BIO: Robin Gow is a trans poet and witch from rural Pennsylvania.

Photo by Sarah Leamy

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