Tag Archives: [PANK]

“Home for the Wayward Trans Teenager” Leslie Anne Mcilroy

I would put a sign on my door,
but the vacancy is already filled.
So many young people with their “T”
and almost-hair on their faces.

I love these boys, these “they.”
They are bottomless pits —
pizzas and apple juice,
dysphoria and binders.

I only meant to have one,
but one is connected to the other
and the other, and it’s not that
the parents are bad,

just that it takes a long time
to turn “she” into “he.” And,
they change their names,
call the name you gave them,

“dead.” You donate the dresses
to goodwill, throw out the photos
of ponytails and purses. You say
“dead,” too, to your daughter.

It’s only six months and already,
you are saving up for the double
mastectomy. You only cry a little
now, but mostly fold the boys

underwear, pack away the pearl
bracelet, correct your family,
“she to he,” “she to he” and then
wonder why they can’t just be gay.

Leslie Anne Mcilroy won the 1997 Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Prize, the 2001 Word Press Poetry Prize and the 1997 Chicago Literary Awards. Her second book was published by Word Press in 2008, and third, by Main Street Rag in 2014. Leslie’s poems appear in Grist, Jubilat, The Mississippi Review, PANK, Pearl, Poetry Magazine, the New Ohio Review, The Chiron Review and more.

“Praising the Familiar” by Brian Fanelli

We hardly write about each other now,
comfortable in daily routines. You lean in,
press your back to me each morning
as we linger in bed.

I scroll through my phone,
share news over coffee.
I used to karate chop the air
over headlines I disliked.

You taught me to uncurl my fists,
put down the phone, find beauty
in the familiar, such as the taste of blueberries
at breakfast, their sweetness like thickened wine,

or the way the cat dashes
from window to window,
trying to paw at birds, or how you leave
lipstick prints on mugs once done.

So here is a poem in praise of those routines,
the warmth of your back pressed to mine,
the groan of floorboards after you shower,
the way you pull a chair out and always sit across from me.

You showed me there is holiness in the everyday,
the first morning light, the quiet of those hours.

Brian Fanelli’s poetry collections include Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books), winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Poetry Prize, and All That Remains (Unbound Content). His work has been published by The Los Angeles Times, Verse Daily[PANK], World Literature Today, The Writers Almanac, and other publications. He teaches at Lackawanna College.