In the future, my gender
awakes on the night cruise to Crete
while the other queers sleep
& doesn’t burn my ankles with cigarettes
In the future, my gender is grateful
to see you at the house party
but not because you found me
in the literal closet
where I hug a fire
extinguisher to my chest.
In the future my gender enters your
poorly insulated apartment
but because we’re the same
warm & the same laser tag
token exchanged for little aliens.
We win all the tickets playing
dance dance revolution
We don’t stomp, but gather all
the floaty glowy arrows
into one fine point in our arms
In the future my gender tells you
we’re all in the petri dish
& you apologize once
In the future my gender epitaphs
& when you step close to my grave
my gender is the laugh
at whoever brought flowers
I Remember the Precise Moment of Learning Certain Words, like Jostled, like Corrugated
In the cardboard city :: the world’s straw wrapper :: I wore the wrong shirts :: I wore the right
shirts inside-out :: I wore bras again :: I put on bras for you :: the city said why not
I put on bras :: I took them off :: for you I leapt at calls :: at emoji tones through the other end of
the phone :: your voice heart-eyed :: how you throated :: the smiley face in a ghost costume
It’s afternoon but a robin hops :: a worm in its mouth :: inside the city :: facades propped up ::
nothing behind them :: doorways to the river :: historic storefronts for stick people
You truck :: square after square :: like the Barenstain Bear :: in the transitory cardboard box :: a
Seussian tumbling :: You tried to convince me I’m straight :: your face caught :: in the neon light
of the about to be drag show :: but the cardboard edges of all things :: I can fold & unfold :: In
your truck :: one tear ran down my cheek :: I thought a maggot in my hair ::
a feather fell out
(One More Time)
for the people in the back
I become unafraid (again) to be ugly.
I decide (again) (unagain)
to post up in bad shorts, in the grit,
by the Greyhound payphone, & u must pay me to
step out of the way.
Who will u call to from ur well-fitting clothes?
Too bad, it’s me again,
(again) on the other end
of the string + tin can.
And (again) I (again)
have flown in to ask u
to stop asking w/e it is
that ur asking me.
I’m glad you’ve got such a shiny treehouse.
I’m ~ so glad ~~
if u fall,
Mother World Order will turn
ur grass stains into a Tide™ commercial.
But the rest of us have no say
in the matter—we’re already back
(again) on the bus, heading (again) (again)
toward a home.
There’s dirt here.
It’s like Shrek’s swamp, except
all the fairy tale creatures are gross
fucking slugs, just your neighborhood
queers. And (again) (again) (again)
we’ve got all our safest memes.
Remember the agenda??
If u feel uninvited:
Hannah Rego is a writer from Louisville, Kentucky. In 2016 they were awarded the Flo Gault poetry prize from Sarabande Books. They have attended residencies and workshops through Spalding University’s Low-Res MFA, SAFTA through Sundress Publications, and Winter Tangerine. Their poetry appears in BOAAT, BOMB Magazine, Breakwater Review and elsewhere. They live in Brooklyn and on twitter @hannahkalena.