SB Campisi

Gender Neutral Milk Hotel

1.I do not know how to dress
so my date knows I’m queer.
My date wears overalls with flowers on them.
Between mouthfuls of falafel, the inevitable moment arises:
                                                                                    (the worst part about dating)

– I’m not a girl,
  like I was in high school.
  I don’t identify with either gender.
                                                  -Great. Me neither.

2. They borrow my headbands and makeup.
They paint their beard with turquoise mascara.
I get used to touching-up their eyeliner before we go to live shows.
They give me floral leggings that don’t fit anymore.
We go out to dinner, sit across from each other,         cross-dressed from each other.
Our server stares before offering us drinks.

3. A Saturday in October, they drive me to our hometown.
I surprise my parents in the front yard.
My dad laughs at their jokes. My mom remembers coaching them in little league.
They are referred to as boyfriend.

4. I am introduced to their family just after their grandfather’s death.
Everyone’s a little inebriated, very in mourning.
Their grandmother offers me food and wine. She is generous with the latter.
Their mother is not short on smiles or hugs.
She calls me, a sweet girl. I smile and say thank you because she means well.

In their car, they whisper, they/them/theirs, into my thighs.


Originally from Saco, Maine, SB Campisi moved to Boston in 2018 after receiving a BFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Their poetry has previously been published in Nixe’s Mate Review. SB’s poetry explores how to struggle, cope, and thrive within fluctuating mental health, gender identity, and relationships.

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