Five Poems by Wren Hanks

Wren Hanks

My Binder is a Thundershirt ™

I need something stiff to breathe against like He-Man’s armor. Like the anti-anxiety jacket I velcroed around shaking terriers when I was a dog walker. Back then I zipped my hoodie to my neck. I wore Doc Martens & got muscle-skinny, riding the subway in giant headphones and licking cream cheese off my top lip. I ate whatever, I ate whatever, and my breasts shrank, but I moved to Texas and they came back, encouraged by fried avocado tacos I drizzled with two kinds of salsa.

My binder applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling an infant. My binder gives me the chest I didn’t know I wanted, the chest of UT jocks in powder-washed polos. How I long to feel like southern gentry. But I’m a sleek dog yet, thundershirt tucked beneath my v-neck, holding me down.

The Rise of Genderqueer (Addendum 1)
with language taken from “The Sacred Androgen” by Daniel Harris

“One can no more change one’s gender than one’s species.” –Daniel Harris

Divest me of breasts and birth names & why not strip me of humanity.
Since nature was so maladroit, so incapable of fulfilling its responsibilities,
hand me a latchkey, a chivalrous rescue on the operating table.

I want to oxidize (sans chitchat), sir Harris, I want to get the inside out.
I’m willing to risk that internal embargo

on the likelihood the borders between the genders are more porous than you or I know,
more that an onslaught of papercuts aimed at your (sorry) cisgender hands
by any particular nest of snakes.

I’ll never be denatured,

I am nature, walking past your mirror,
glory hanging from each gutsy redecorated cell.

The Rise of Genderqueer (Addendum 2)
with language taken from SB6 (Texas Legislature) and “The Mucus-Shooting Worm Snail that Turned Up in the Florida Keys” by NYT Reporter Joanna Klein

a psychologically healthy person sees
the general diffusion of knowledge as potentially harmful

distracting environments   should be barred (glues their home to hard surfaces)

to provide students access to restrooms, showers, and dressing rooms based on an individual student’s internal sense of gender   is alarming

could potentially lead to boys and girls showering together

when using intimate facilities   a reasonable expectation of privacy
based on biological sex
is of the utmost priority and moral obligation of this state

where a person may be in a state of undress in the presence of another person
an internal sense of gender would not seem so polite
regardless of whether the facility provides curtains or partial walls for privacy

( a sunken, retired naval ship    a limestone tube)
we’re still not 100% sure where they are coming from
nor how to contain
this kind of death-zone around them

The Rise of Genderqueer (Dream Log)

A psychologically healthy person is a composite

of dreams           Banded parasites spilling from a hole in his breast

Warts shaped like doors    tub full of ants grasping a sponge       

In these dreams he’s a woman

still                   & no one can tell him when this will end

While kissing his middle school crush

in an abandoned gas station

She’ll wipe his charcoal stubble off

to reinstate the smoothness underneath

The Rise of Genderqueer (Dream Log 2—Northern Lights)

A psychologically healthy person cranes his neck
Breathes green     cuts imaginary shoots off his fingers

They could beam us to a place with no gender at all

I’d bleed pink around the edges       Rose Bride at last

a living color gradient

Wren Hanks is a trans poet from Texas and the author of the chapbooks Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press) and Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press). A 2016 Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow, his recent works appears in Best New Poets 2016The WandererJellyfish MagazineGigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. His third chapbook, gar child, is forthcoming from Tree Light Books in 2017. He’s the publicist for the Feminist Press and currently lives in Brooklyn. He tweets @suitofscales.

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