Flotsam by A. W. Earl

Shattered by it, for a time, confused;
this body that would not obey
would not contain sexless simplicity
but grew fat, graceless, unsaved,
all mushroomed by the rain.
Unlovely, I would grab my breasts
as though to drag them off the bone,
unwitting Amazon
who drew a bow and loosed
a thousand words at childhood lost.

But the sea was in me for a time,
coil of salt against my womb.
Moon-drawn, sustained, and I
was ocean, I was cave, was
deep well brimming
wild love brimming
light of stars
bright things enshrined
sacred as daybreak or
kiss of winter on my cheek
for a time. A clot of blood, no more.
Darlings drifting off into the dark
leave me Earth-born, leave me
child-body on the shore
man-body overcome
all motherhood stripped off,
all function done.

Blind Norn, what is left but finger-twitch?
The stars compelled me,
stubbornness of my hunter’s breast,
or mouth that makes male scorn, gaze
that will not conform.
Some things are clearer in the dark.
I stand on this shore and ask who forged me so,
stand tall, laying off menarche like a robe.
The world awaits, all flower-wreathed,
to startle to my laugh, to wonder
at the things that I have won.

A. W. Earl

A. W. Earl is a writer, storyteller, and performer whose poetry is concerned with gender, deviant bodies, and folklore. Their non-fiction involves them being quietly angry about transgender issues, and the much misunderstood history of marriage. Time’s Fool, their debut novel, was published by Unbound in 2018, and their collection of illustrated short stories, Scars on Sound, was released in 2017.  Twitter: @alysdragon

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