Odyshape by Abbie Normal
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.
you’re breaking my heart,
and I am not tough
though my leather boots and tattooed muscles
Some of you have accepted me from the start,
others still choose to define me as confused or insane,
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
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.