Lip Manegio

In Which My Gender and an Infant with Colic are Indistinguishable


my gender is a greedy child

wanting to hold all this femme and masc

together in the same chest


it demands everything,

demands the he and the she and the they

all at once


my gender cries out in hunger

desperate to consume

all of this body, all of me


it pleads with me, tells me

that it needs all of this flesh

to sustain itself


i do not know how to tell my gender

that i need this body too,

cannot give it all away


that i can’t possibly feed it

everything it needs

with just these two hands


so i keep trying to rein it in, giving it new labels and names,

hoping that someday it will swallow one

and hold it in it’s stomach like a sedative


but my gender, the stubborn, picky thing it is, refuses to be calmed,

keeps spitting up everything i give it (man, woman, nothing in particular)

refuses to become something i can explain away


not understanding that this world does not want it

not understanding that i am only trying to protect it

just thinking i am an overbearing parent trying to rope it in


it throws tantrum after screaming tantrum

shaking all my bones

howling at me to allow it to grow up, into itself


i ask my gender what it wants to be when it grows up

and it shows me a field of daisies

and a church on fire


i ask my gender what it means

and it seals its lips like its holding some great secret,

too unbending to reveal it quite yet


the secret is, my gender

does not know

what it wants to be


just knows that it’s something other than this vessel,

this trap whose bars it has been rattling since i was born,

and can’t think of how to free itself other than caging me in instead


just knows that it is a greedy child

wants this body and her body and his body

but doesn’t know how to live in any of them


Lip Manegio is a queer, trans nonbinary performance poet based in Boston where they are towards a BFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College. Their work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Winter Tangerine, Slamchop, voicemail poems, Slamfind, Freezeray Poetry, and the minnesota review. They also work as an organizer for the Emerson Poetry Project and were a member of the 2018 Emerson CUPSI team.

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