I spent the first 10 minutes of my life
Nobody really talks about my birth.
My father doesn’t want to keep reliving
The first time he almost lost me
And all my mother remembers is crying,
“Oh My God, it’s a girl!”
I was born purple
With the cord wrapped around
My neck like a snake trying
To squeeze out the truth.
But I wouldn’t spill it.
The doctors had told my parents
I was a boy in the womb.
It was like I decided to tuck in
My sex like a love note in my pocket
That I wasn’t ready to read yet.
I wish I could give my mother a flower
For every time I ever scoffed at someone
Who told me I looked just like her.
I would gather a field of tulips
And apologize for the way
I took compliments like stingers.
The truth is, I just wanted
to be like my father,
With legs like tree trunks
And arms like mountains;
With my mother’s petaled features
Sprinkled across my terrain.
I just wanted to be respected
Like my brother
So when I started racing go-karts
I was not known as the girl who
Always finished last but as
The boy who stood a chance.
The boy inside of me sometimes
Boxes with my organs, training
For the days where he has to
Come out swinging,
He doesn’t know how to become yet,
He’s always waiting for an invitation.
My clothes try to make room for him,
My courage drips with anticipation
To show off his flat chest
Beneath my big breasts;
He is always trying to fill in
The empty spaces.
I have always been terrified of snakes
And their need to suffocate their prey
But purple is my favorite color;
A perfect combination of blue and red,
The transition from strangulation to breathing.
When I heard, “It’s a girl!”
I cried, and gasped for air.