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Transcript Provided by YouTube:
I’m in the mirror, naked, rounding hand over stomach,
imagining the scar my mother will have.
She is sliced open on a Wednesday,
her womb, choked with dust, tossed into a bowl like it’s useless.
I push against my soft, at my insides,
wonder how they’d look spread out on the operating table.
Her largest fibroid is five inches across.
I see it stretching from the edge of my palm
to the tip of my pinkie.
She’s been bleeding every day for months,
living in a lake of blood clots and tampon boxes.
I count backwards.
Can’t remember the last time I bought tampons.
I have not had my period in 17 months.
The doctor assisting on her surgery is the same man who birthed me.
His name is Joe. He has four kids.
His hands are covered in my mother.
I think I see my face in the flood in the blood, the bleeding,
stitches, straining tumors.
I wonder if he knows I grew up to be trans.
I wonder if they both see the infant of a past I don’t remember.
My mother calls me “son,” calls me “boy,” “her boy,”
but if we listen to the doctors doused in our blood,
I am now more woman than she.
See, I still have my uterus.
See my body, the mirror womb,
muscle fibers stretched between us twitching and twisting,
hers lined with sores, mine sitting stale.
Fibroids rip through the lining of her uterus.
The goal of my testosterone therapy is to end my menstrual cycle.
She gives up her body for health. I abandon mine for gender.
My mother is sliced open 21 years ago.
Joe pulls a baby girl from her body.
My mother is sliced open today.
Joe yanks tumors from her womb, her womb from her body.
Her uterus is heavy with a false child, as if five months pregnant,
but she isn’t, and never will be again.
When I have my last period, 17 months ago,
I wonder if testosterone has ruined my body,
wonder if I can ever get pregnant.
I don’t want to, have never wanted to,
but isn’t this the shame, the guilt.
We abandon possibility like we tossed out tampons.
But I’m in the mirror cupping my stomach,
injecting myself with hormones I wasn’t born with,
looking at a baby picture.
It could be me, or my brother, or any baby,
since all babies look the same.
I imagine the knife, the sacrifice, the scar.
I should honor the bloody mass that birthed me, shouldn’t I?
Should honor the body that came before me,
even if the doctor saw me covered in my mother’s body,
and called me “girl,”
even if they will not call me “boy” until I’ve been cut open too.
They say boys don’t have bodies like I do.
Well, I wish I could give my mother my uterus,
but that’s not how it works.
I’m left trying to love something she had to get cut out,
feeling like I don’t deserve to be whole when she can’t.
Mine is stagnant, but it’s healthier than hers–
not poisoned and rotting, just sitting quietly,
waiting for the blood we’ve all known since birth.
(cheers and applause)
This post was previously published on YouTube.