Hannah Rego

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: 
                                   (try again) 
You’re welcome



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 BOAATBOMB MagazineBreakwater Review and elsewhere. They live in Brooklyn and on twitter @hannahkalena.