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Odyshape by Abbie Normal

Odyshape by Abbie Normal

$ 4.99

In Part One ("Stone Poems") of Odyshape, Abbie Normal's fourth poetry collection, we access what feels like a real-time account of her stroke, the pain, the numbness, and the confusion around deciding, or not, to remain on HRT, and what that means for herself, her identity, and her relationships. The second half of this collection ("Bone Poems") includes 15 new pieces (see "Oh Sister" below) that once again demonstrate Normal's masterful use of language to tell a remarkable and engaging story about her own trans experience. Both digital and print versions contain artwork by Abbie Normal.

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Oh Sister

Sister,

you’re breaking my heart,

and I am not tough

though my leather boots and tattooed muscles

say otherwise.

Some of you have accepted me from the start,

others still choose to define me as confused or insane,

and I am confused, state of grace,
and I am insane, new perspectives,

and I admit that I was bewildered at first,

listening to anyone who would talk to me

and yes there was a time when I wore the clothes you picked out for me

and listened to everyone except myself

and I have never seen a picture of a trans woman who looks like me

and when will there be pictures taken of trans women

who look like me?

Sister. You’re breaking my heart,

and I’m not interested in finding new ways to cover

my five o’clock shadow

because the bearded lady is beautiful at the circus

or on the streets

or this is what I tell myself

in my more confident moments

but I am not always confident,

like when you put on slide shows

highlighting the changes

between your old self and your new self

but I still look the same

and how long will it be before I am accepted as real?

When will you believe my shaky deep voice

when I offer my truth?

You wonder why I don’t show up for

events or gatherings

where I have to

define myself daily

in my own head

and I’m sick of having to

define myself daily

to people

who also have to

define themselves daily

and you’re breaking my heart.

It’s in pieces on the ladies room floor

that I can’t enter without screams

so swing the door wide

and let me pass…

though I still ache and grieve

for your manicured hands

on my tomboy chest.


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