by Kathryn Kirkpatrick
Are you a man or a woman? She’s squinting
at my inch long hair, the flat side of my chest,
and what are the answers for the state
I’m in? Yes or no? Him or her?
I’m way beyond that roadblock, carried
like a hawk on funneling air
to the Land of the Sick, through the Land
of the Dead, what I was before
not immaterial, but materially remade.
Yet here at the afternoon bus-stop,
sixty days into a drought, the landscape
stoic with thirst, I keep to the facts
I’m a woman who’s been through
chemotherapy which accounts at least
for appearances if not for the stunned
edge where all these months I’ve lived,
another voice sounding my body’s currents,
the earth’s mantle opened and shut,
a compass in my chest conversing
with cloud and branch and blade.
Now a man with a plastic tank on his back
aims his wand at tufts of grass. Pesticides?
I bristle, and he nods while I step onto
the curb, away from the world that made me,
toward the same world where I am remade.