Blood in the Gutter

by Remy Lucien

Yesterday, a man

            with his penis as his profile picture liked every selfie I’d posted in the last six months,

and then my post wishing my partner a happy five year anniversary.

I laughed even though it wasn’t funny.

 

Some days laughter comes from the throat, slithering

            upwards in a convulsion, expelled like a bitter, disbelieving hiss.

 

Yesterday, a friend told me

            we needed a toothless neoliberal catchphrase like “love is love!”

and maybe then cis people would care about us.

I told her “trans women are women!” and we laughed even though it wasn’t funny.

 

Some days it feels good to believe I was born to be brave, and I can glimpse

            the silhouette of vigor. Some days I hear about a murder on the radio.

 

Yesterday as I was leaving a gas station a man smoking a cigarette by the door spit

            on my shoes. I didn’t stop to look him in the eye.

 

Yesterday, a woman said “we are dying” and I heard myself nested in the syllable

            which always sticks in my throat, because of course, I’m not dead yet.

I told her “they can’t kill all of us.”

 

I want to tell you about all the constellations I never used to be able to discern

from clustered stars. I want to tell you about a discovery of joy.

 

I want to tell you about the transcendentalist beauty of shattering, of recreating

the body in its own image, of knowing the texture of a flame.

 

I want to tell you what it really means to do something for the first time. How it feels

to be surprised by your own laugh, your own sob, your own moan; the slow

            thrill of realization that your whole world is still fighting to be born.

 

Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abott directed state authorities to investigate gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth as child abuse.

 

Today, a friend told me

            to buy a gun.

 

I imagine us all, naked in the dark, swinging our arms erratic

and blind, and finding only each other's fingers stretching from empty hands.

            What have I been taught to do with grief?

 

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard that advice,

            floating between us like an inevitability.

It wasn’t the first time I didn’t have a response.

About the Author

Remy Lucien is a non-binary trans poet from Charlotte, North Carolina. She is passionate about many mediums of creative expression, including visual art, music, and especially writing in all of its forms.