I was called a faggot today.
Then I was called a tranny—twice
actually, once by a stranger and once
by myself, alone, not lonely
in the bathroom I am locked in.
My eyes in the mirror are brown.
They have always looked that way.
My pupils are dilated, which means
I either hate myself or love myself.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart.
My hands are large and my shoulders
are broad. My eyes sit deep in my skull.
My brow is hinged and sharp. My hair-
line is crooked. My voice sits in my chest.
My Adam’s apple makes the skin on my neck
look like a topographical map of Gibraltar.
It’s not love.
I want to be proud. So I say that I am, and
I try to say it often. I don’t feel proud.
People mostly say that I’m brave,
when they don’t know what else to say.
People don’t know what to say a lot.
I think they’re too afraid of saying the wrong thing,
so they don’t say anything at all.
I tried to use the public bathroom, earlier.
I first went into the women’s, but a woman
washing her hands at the sink scowled at me
and pointed to the door. Then I tried to go
into the men’s. There was a group of boys,
a couple years older than me; one of them
swatted the back of my head, a second kicked
my legs from under me. The third of them soaked
some paper towels in the sink and threw them
at my face. As they were leaving they called me
a fucking faggot and a fucking tranny.
I’ve never felt more like one.