A poem about how hard it can be to realize you’re trans when the world is conspiring against you. To be read without taking a breath.

I don’t remember where I was when I started to suspect
that there was a hidden explanation
for the things I’d experienced in my life that
didn’t fit and
didn’t align with
the story I’d been told and that were
an all-but unthinkable secret that you’d have to be
crazy to believe, but that
suddenly gave
to patterns and events
disconnected but now slotting into place to reveal a secret
picture that only a few enlightened people could
perceive but that forced me to reevaluate everything
that had come before the scales had fallen from
my eyes and I knew that there was a
reason for everything and that I wasn’t
alone but instead was one of the select few who had
seen through the veil and
glimpsed the shape of the world that we
weren’t meant to have
seen — modern-day mystics touched by a
vision of the unknowable who speak
but are shunned and reviled for daring to challenge the
of the unenlightened
it wasn’t a single moment of
realization at all but a cascade of little
realizations, connections, intersections, as the
world I thought I knew slowly
fragmented, and an undeniable new
reality started to
slowly take shape and at some point I just started
prizing up the pieces to see what was
behind them, what had been there the
whole time, moving beneath the
surface with implacable patience as if the
secret had its own intent, knew that it would
one day
see the light
of day,
and was growing
brighter — a light
behind a screen that
simply waited until I couldn’t keep
painting new layers onto it, even
though so many people around me
could only see
that unstable surface, and I even
managed to pretend for a little bit that I
could only see
what they saw, even if the fiction we all
agreed to share had stopped making sense and lost any
explanatory power over me until it felt
like I was working harder to preserve that status
quo than to simply shed
the skin
that I’d worn like a mask
even knowing that any
new skin
would be delicate, sensitive to
harms that I’d been
armored against
before, but also
in ways that weren’t
possible while wrapped in my shroud, and
at first I felt lighter in my steps, although occasionally
the weight of my old rags caught
at me, pulled
me down,
but I’d been growing wings so I could show myself that I could fly.