by imogen xtian smith
imogen xtian smith is a genderqueer poet & performer. They live, work, study, & cruise plant shops in NYC.
Gardens are for growing stemmy things
bending toward sun. We living sink heirloom
in tidy rows, set away days to brush clean
the stone, lay leaves that unfurl slow.
Nothing is ever finished—we are naked,
relentless, a now hard, now molten
presence. Some call this horror, others
beauty. Elemental i say, pieced together
of sky’s generous weeping. It’s fair
to wonder how earth holds our wreckage,
why we aren’t swallowed in the belly—
though some questions answer them-
selves. You cannot swap a set of bones, nor
come from any other ruin than. We
gather days—dust, brick, bacteria, mortar,
form. Consequence gives a body
shape, says you cannot build home in lie.
i am not a woman. My gender is feminine.
Even the moon travels farther for what
it wants. Mostly i am water—swollen,
mourning, tie a blue ribbon round my finger
& forget me. Do you think me monstrous,
wanting my body my way? My poem
is a dream saying teach me where
you’re brittle & maybe we can rest there,
where breath tethers limbs to toes
wrapped in blue knit, where nothing alone
is useful. Deep in the quiet i touch myself
undone, stars still stars over turns
& brambles, a dark wood weaving beyond
city light. You love the mess, don’t you,
the way consequence gives & gives—
stony dismay, a sweetness of rest. Here’s
a poem for my body, stemmy thing—it
begins & ends in dirt.