by Rose Zinnia
Rose Zinnia was born in Akron, Ohio and is the author of the chapbooks Golden Nothing Forever (Nonbinary), Abracadabrachrysanthemum, Hands, and River (with Ross Gay). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in West Branch, The Tenderness Project, The Ocean State Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Monster House Press, Peach Mag, Bad Nudes, and elsewhere. They live with their wolfdog, Kiki, in Bloomington, Indiana where ze are an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Indiana University and a book/graphic designer. Ze co-edit w the trees + poiesis.
Happy Trans Birthday (NONBINARY)
We’re in my car. Pointing north. You’re nothing,
you blurt. They’ll be so relieved when you come out,
because, you’re—nothing. I smile like a sloth
at you. I weep the road in slowmo. So I can:
nothing. You’re nothing. You mean, I’m neither: woman
nor man. I don’t dream. Of becoming. A real. No-
thing. No-more. Not a wooden throes-boat. Not the linden
tree Chiron’s mother turned herself into after getting raped
by Kronus, ashamed her child was a bastard centaur. Spell it
with me now: n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Wounded-healer. Anymore. I don’t
dream. Just animal keen. I swim across the river to where you are
smashing papayas under the fig tree with your hooked hooves,
butcher phlegmatic. We smear orange on each others’ cheeks
till we become pumpkins. It’s so quiet I can hear your smile
forming. Cheeks-crinkle. Bleating out the yolkshell.
Yeah: we tender. I lick your teeny nostrils. My little.
Nothing. Your nothing. Swap eyeball for eyeball. Fall down
the waterfall. For giggles. Walk to Staples in Grand Rapids
where the clerk goes Have a beautiful afternoon, ladies. I can’t
say it doesn’t feel good to be read as a woman. It does. & it
doesn’t. What are you. When you’re nothing? You’re nothing.
My neighbor uses their iPhone to capture their 12 year-old mowing
the lawn for the first time. They film the whole event, following
the kid around like a doc crew. It’s like, 45 minutes long, the movie
of this. That’s everything. I’m nothing. I must archive my own
annihilated chrysalis. Glean a false tooth from imprinted
memories of monsoons. Take you to my orchid meadow
and let you lady-bug all over me. I’ll swaddle you even if you
won’t see me deep. Make numb-shucks of our mouths
until they fall off like lizard tails and we push quarters
into our orificelessness. Hoping for a new theme song to emerge.
One that might coast us back into a belonging. Drain all the nuked
milk our e-ghosts’ udders can muster. You’re nothing.
O girman. O woboy. Make me not a market toy. I was a dart
board. Cactus for you to hang your corpse. I wanted to be a grocery
store in the middle of a phantastic emptiness. Open 24. Gleaming.
Packaged. Shrunk. Toilet paper cyborg mummy. The garbage
men I worked with would go, You’re like a girl. Don’t let me
get hit by a car, girl. Fucking girl. I’ve got a wife and kids,
a real life, girl. Unfuckable no-thing. You’re nothing. Simple
as night or day. Even the lobsters with their oversized
fists would honor me with some dinky ribboned medal
that could swing from my neck like a dented halo.
You’re nothing. Emblazoned on the back of my jersey.
Happy trans birthday. Light circling my as of yet milkless
breasts like rogue meteors bedecked with reused candles.
In some places on this planet there are 2 months of darkness
unending. You can’t see anything. You’re nothing. Nothing’s everything.