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1 poem

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. 

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