A Gender Traitor* Speaks

Watch the darkening mouth.
You know when it’s coming.
The tannic tone drop. The slurred
slide she makes into affected accent.
Almost British. Slightly swallowed.
Punctuated. Small gestures.
Brace (yourself). Give her credit
for (intellectual) property.
Buy a mountain together. Dream
circular interlocking living
spaces. Holding women.
Mythologize a circle of light.
Sip bottles under trees.
Take and become her brunt.
So young, lift her curtain of hair
from tequila toilets. Tenderly.
Purple teeth and (pending)
(complete) Ph.D. (always mean)
she’s right. She likes to put you
in your proper place. Beneath.
Best with men watching.
In Taos. Over basil and brie.
In dim basements and bars.
Her men stutter apologies
for her blackened chainsaw
tongue. You learn, lean toward
your own kind. Kind men.
Kind women. Kindred. Leave.
A lifetime later, she names you
gender traitor, spits the gavel
normative, normative, normative
at the tiny home, life, family, bodies
you built without her, like her,
inside against the ancient walls
of men. Be (un)impressed by names
she drops. Be erased by her
heroic herstory. Embrace erasure.
The truth, she says, has always
been difficult for you.


*Gender Traitor

“Gender traitor (derogatory): A person who supports attitudes or positions thought to be against the interests or well-being of their own gender.” Wictionary

“From 19th century anti-suffragists to today’s anti-feminists…women who turn against themselves.” Epigraph to “Gender Traitors,” Sally Feldman, The New Humanist

Gender Traitor: a gay, lesbian, or bi person. Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

“It’s… been a little weird for me, because ‘gender traitor’ is language you sometimes see applied to trans people now.” Alex Barasch interview, Slate


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