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A self portrait as Salvador Dali’s melted clocks

By Lucy Parr

My cat sits at my feet

his claws hooked into my socks

and the skin of my feet,

curled up and content and I won’t

go anywhere despite the sweet pain.

Far too much has already been said

about the unlinearity of time,

philosophers and physicists and

all of us queers. I guess

I’m a redundancy, but nonetheless-

I can’t tell a story without getting the time wrong.

I am twelve or eleven or thirteen

I have been told that bleeding is good,

a sign of fertility and growing up and shedding

golden, halcyon, tarnished youth.

I am twelve or elven or thirteen

and I am in my bedroom bargaining

with a creator I am sure exists that I don’t

bleed. I’ll do anything to keep it from happening

but if I do, well, that’s just life, isn’t it.

I am fifteen or fourteen or seventeen

and I am joking with my sister and

surreptitiously, furiously googling terms on my laptop

late at night.

Things like “How do you know you are gay?”

“Gay quiz?” “What is asexuality?”

I am trying to check out boys and girls

and feeling very little besides

aesthetic appreciation.

I tell my bisexual sister,

“I guess I left all my

sexuality in the womb for you!”

I am defined by an absence.

I am fifteen or fourteen or seventeen

and I stumble upon a thought, my entire

life, already being upended

(not that upendedness was not

the default already.) And I am wondering,

“Am I even a girl?” I know

I have no desire to be masc

(I think) and I really love makeup

and I am fourteen or thirteen or twelve

and I am looking into the mirror, my hair

in a middle part and slightly wavy

thinking “Do I look like Jacob from Twilight?”

And I am nine or ten or eleven and looking

at my much shorter friend, already perfectly

feminine, feeling like a clumsy, giant

imposter beside her, mimicking her likes

and interests, and crushes,

but never quite loosing the feeling

of playing dress-up with her entire being.

And then I stumble across a forum

where trans medicalists are talking about

killing “trans trenders” and

as I am catapulted back to the reality

of already being different in the south.

That, was that.

And now I am nineteen or twenty or twenty one

and I am taking a hammer

gently to that shell, cracking it

open with accidental, clumsy

violence. No longer

Too afraid to die to look inside,

and the inevitability of this moment

forcing me to smash open that

tarnished, youthful innocence,

to find that the yolk inside is golden.

And now, I am sitting at your feet,

my soul clawing at your skin,

at your whole being, curled up

content. knowing that

I won’t be going anywhere for the

absence of pain


Lucy Parr


Age 23

From Marshall, Texas

Currently residing in Cleveland

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