Tag Archives: Pearl

“Copperfield” by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

I was not afraid of my father,
thin/frail/sick. Never saw
him put a hole in the wall
or heard him raise his voice,
but I was young and that time
he slapped me on the head
was only once and I am
sure I deserved it.

I must have. I should have
been afraid of the way
he quoted Rod McKuen
and signed his letters
“never hurt intentionally”
like it’s a fee ride as long
as you didn’t mean it. As long
as we are so sensitive, we cry.

He cried and died, little
rabbit man and his hat.
And to this day, I can’t figure
out why he matters. He mostly
doesn’t. And, imagine dying
that way, knowing even your
kids don’t believe your
sorrow. I am thankful he
was not an a magician,
just imagine that poor girl
sliced in half.

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.

“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.