I’d rather be a glimpse than a girl. Good. I’ll rest here for now.
I’m faster than the man in the white swim cap. I pass
him four times. The fifth, he grips the edge of the pool,
shutters me ahead with a flick of his hand. Oh, to be
a man! To trust one’s place. I once heard of a woman
who swam across fifty two lakes in Germany. No matter
the season or the chill, nor the black clouds speeding
across the crowded horizon. Into the water she went,
thrashing the cold clear world below. Inner lining. I imagine
her gasping with pleasure. She wrote a memoir about it.
Meditations on grief. Something like that. I didn’t look
it up. These days, I only trawl online forums on slicing
off my tits. Sorry, I meant top surgery. I meant double
incision mastectomy. Why do you go swimming so much?
a colleague asks. I say: I like the routine. I don’t say: I need
somewhere to suspend my chest. I need the hunted
reprieve of water. It’s the only place I feel certain.
In the doctor’s office hangs a horse in a windblown field.
A black stallion pushing against the fast blue sky. I grip
the clipboard. I tick the boxes. I touch my moving knee.
Do not ask for the clipboard back. Do not apologize
to the nurse behind the glass, the man outside pulling
a cigarette, the woman listening for the train. Apologize
for what? This $10,000 taxpayer knife? This unticked
gender? Yes. No. Don’t be silly. Come to the water. Swim
your laps. We’re allowed to grieve, you know? a friend says,
their date set for May. We’re allowed to be angry we need
that knife. Here’s what I think: I do not know if I am angry
or a boy. I’d rather be a glimpse than a girl. Good. I’ll rest here
for now. Look: an animal in a meadow. A dark sky cutting a lake.
A body of water in a body of water, slipping past a flat chest,
a thin white cap, a loath wrist, trying to get someplace else.