Another Cisgender Person Sends Me an Article in Which the Transgender Person Does Not Exit the Story Alive, in Three Parts

by Linette Reeman


I try to get a knife thru airport security and it doesn’t work. Nasty orange thing. Ugly teeth. Used to pick the dirt out from under the fingernails of skin. I mean used to skin a dirt-mouth. I mean hey man, we’re gonna hafta take aaallll your stuff out of your suitcase because we can’t tell where the wound is. See it on the screen? Yeah its got its own heartbeat. Those are its fingers. Woah buddy, how’d your luggage give birth to a knife? How’d you carry all that around for nine months without bleeding out? Nah don’t answer that. Just give it to us and we’ll forget your face. One time in their hometown my best friend locked and unlocked my car doors like opening a switchblade each new neighborhood we sliced thru, and I asked them why they kept doing that like don’t you live here bub? And they said yeah, but we are both visibly transgender which means even home isn’t safe. And it’s the same thing with the knife, like why’d you bring a weapon to an airport? Don’t you know you’re white so you’re safe even if you’re stupid? Don’t you know airports are safe? And I’m like yeah but I’m still scared. I keep seeing my face on the news, under the headline TRANSGENDER PERSON NOT WORTH THEIR PRONOUNS OR NAME BUT HERE’S SOME STATISTICS ON DEATH, MOTHERFUCKER. Okay, here’s the truth— transgender people don’t say “transgender,” we just say “trans” or “buddy” / “pal” / “sunshine” / “I love you” / “gem-rock” / “sorry— me too.” Like every transkid knows what songs they wouldn’t want played at their funeral. Mine’s anything Bruce Springsteen. Hey I’m sorry, but that’s not the New Jersey I’m from. I’m from the acoustic version of the song Graves by Whiskey Shivers sung on a round in a midnight parking garage until all of my ex-lovers learn how to fucking play their chosen instruments better. Sorry, I’m getting off-track— I take a train in and out of my own heart until there’s a wound the size of someone else’s homestate there. I am onstage and I open my mouth and a flock of dead birds fall out. A bird flies thru the airport and I almost trade it my ticket “home” for those wings. So everyone I love has a name that’s just waiting for an obituary to marry it into a memory and it’s like that half-full/half-empty shit—maybe it could be both, but a trans person can’t be both dead and alive, or alive and living, so what’s with all these metaphors about graves, honey? What are you trying to bury? I’m not saying it’s a bad concept, it’s just dark, you know? I’m not saying you’re not in danger but it’s dark tonight, you know? Hey honey, I’m not saying I know what I’m saying but I’m gonna hafta take aaallll the context out of your mouth and replace it with my bias, okay? Do you need a hand, honey? Her—honey? Is it okay if I call you “her,”— honey?


I try to get a knife██████████████████████████████████████████████
████████████████████████████████████████████████████ to skin █████
the wound███████████████████████████████ its got its own █████████
███████████████████████████████████████████████ luggage █████████
█ give██████ us ████████████████ your face████████████████████████
███████████████████ locked and unlocked ████████████ like████████ a
switchblade█each new ███████████████ slice████████████████████████
█████ means even home isn’t safe. ████████████████████████████████
███████████████████████████ I keep seeing ████████████████████████
████████████ the truth—
transgender people don’t say “transgender,” we just say ███████████
█████████ Like every transkid knows ██████████████████████████████
███████ their funeral██████████████████████████████████████████████
██████ acoustic version of ████████████████████████████████████████
███████████████ midnight ████ until all of my ex‑lovers learn how t
████ dead bird██████ out███████████████████████████████████████████
████████████████████ my ███████████████████████████████████████████
█████████████████████ name ██████████████████████████ obituary ████
██████████████████████████████████████████ a ██████████████████████
███████████████████ metaphors about████████ honey██████████████████
████████████ I’m not █████████████ bad █████████████ just██████████
███████████████████████████████████████ in danger█but██████ tonight,
████████████████████ I’m███████████████████████████████████████████
████████████ gonna █████ take ███████ the context out of
your mouth and replace it with my ███████████████████████████hand, honey?

i try to get a knife to skin the wound—
[[it.s got its own luggage]] give us
your face, locked and unlocked like a switch/blade— each new slice
means even home isn’t safe. i keep seeing the truth—
transgender people don’t say “transgender,” we just say “sorry.”
like every transkid knows their
funeral acoustic version of
midnight / until all of my
ex-lovers learn how to dead-bird
out my name [[obituary like
a metaphor about honey]] i’m not
bad, just in danger. but tonight,
i’m gonna take the context out
of your mouth and replace it
with my hand—


████████████████████████ and████████████████████████


████████████████████████████████████ don’t █████


█████████████████████████████████████████████████ my
███lovers learn how to dead-bird

out my ███████obituary████████


and don’t my lovers
learn how to dead-bird out my

LINETTE REEMAN (they/them) exists on the internet at