Linette Reeman | Poetry


At the duplicating center I work for,
sometimes customers will leave behind
important legal or personal documents,
and often never return to retrieve them.
On my break, I imagine combining these
frayed narratives into one persona.

i was born in one gender and died
another. yes, this is my own death
certificate. i’ve been carrying it around
since the war. what war? i don’t know,
all of them? is “war” not just another
word for “want”? once someone
and i fought for so long we called
each other “fiance.” once her mother
barged in on us making bunkers
out of our pelvic bones and thus
drank herself into a wound. actually,

fuck the war metaphor. i am sixteen
and my big sister’s body was found
in a dumpster a decade ago and that’s
why grandma’s bag rattlesnakes when
she walks, it’s all those bottles. sorry,

you just wanted to know what killed me.
it wasn’t a war or someone else, that
was all a lie. it was the hollow center
of the earth and i promise this is the truth.
god sent me messages in Meryl Streep
movies. i’ve seen the mermaids with
my own eyes. the only reason i’m here
and not with them now is because god
gave me homework and it’s to make
everyone believe. when i’m done, god
will send the mermaids back for me.
i mean i’m twenty-five and i’ve stopped

caring what kind of cardstock our
wedding invitations go on. i can’t look
at one more shade of pastel cream
again. sorry, everything before this
was a lie. the truth is it was monotony
that killed me. waking up and seeing my
own mouth hungry and rude with the
same hair and bad nails made me
walk off into the sunset holding a drink
and a shotgun. i’ve never fired a gun
before. so i aim at the sky and pull.




i lay flat on my back and asked God for everything
but a different face ………………….& She gave it to me

i woke up shaved down & scraped off

my new body buried under layers of bandage
………….[my new body the hollow-center of the earth
………….i keep hearing about & not believing in its
……………………..wild myth]


now, it has been almost half a year since & so i can say:
the ground still chokes on the chemicals God dropped
i haven’t re-planted the flowers yet
………….[my old body sank & sagged & bloated
………….out all my shirts but this one doesn’t even feel
………….like it wants to know growth again–


one night i got out of the shower
& saw two fresh new blooms of stretch——-
marks growing out from my hollow-center
[like weeds] & o lord God– it was my fault,
i guess– for expecting a prayer answered
………….with no strings attached



Linette Reeman (they/them) is an Aries from the Jersey Shore so they’re not sure what you mean by “speed limit.” They’ve performed at venues like Busboys & Poets and the Bowery Poetry Club, have been published by Public Pool, Blueshift Journal, and others, and most recently they hosted final stage at the Texas Grand Slam and were a finalist for the Brett Elizabeth Jenkins prize from Tinderbox Journal. Linette exists on the internet at LINETTEREEMAN.NET, and in their spare time occasionally sleeps a full eight hours.