Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 24, December 2012—Trans / Queer Issue)

Oliver Bendorf
Appendix to a Harassment Report

(“she” “she” “she”) Some days I wake up
Wagon Jack. (“but we can just use
oliver, right?
”) (“she” “she” “she”) In
the mirror, in the shower, I am man,
(“her” “her”) my jaws the texture of steel
wool. Nurse of my imaginary (“licking
her wounds
”), make me soft forever.
(“she” “she”) In my childhood bedroom,
I (“she”) am six with a pair of scissors
to my hair, studying headshots of Elvis
to get the sideburns right. Wagon Jack,
(“if you don't toughen up”) become me
faster, (“monsieur bendorf”) lower
my voice (“life miscarries us all, in a
way”) like the wrong end of a hose. In
the city, (“you’re being too sensitive”)
I sit cross-legged on a park bench
rubbing balm across my scars. (“she”
“she” “she” “she” “she” “she” “she” “she”
When I call out, all my friends are there.
Our glitter tongues (“she”) tongue
whatever they want. Our tears taste (“she
she”) better than a spring. Kindness
looks like itself. My own hands wake me
in the night and my ears train on
the silence. (“special demands”) There
are no scars. There is no bench. I am
back at the farm, my girl sound asleep
right beside me. (“distress you yourself
have caused
”) Knife that cuts straight
through me, take my distress too. I am
marching on: fifty animals to feed, (“her
her”) a hundred kingdoms to plan, sun is
shining. (“not a big deal”) Outside, the
goats are banded. To be boys forever.
In the timothy next to the creek, Wagon
Jack grabs his hands, which are also mine,
(“when i was your age, i wasn’t... up
against as much
”) and together we feel
for new veins. I get what I wanted. Soft
forever. Diligent records. Love. Even
a pine cone on my head. (“your...
”) My situation is pretty good.
Three baby goats, and a girl who says we
will drink only good tequila to stay
current only in our own events. I learn
more every day (“as a gay man myself”)
about what kind of boy to be. How to
make my words fall gently like smoke
rings or silk. Big eyes even when I sleep.
Wagon Jack tells me a pine cone (“make
the best of it
”) is a charm against the
bad. Let’s find out. Isn’t this the best?
I’m not tired yet. This must be the best.