COSMONAUTS AVENUE

Uma Dwivedi

I FISTFIGHT MY BODY IN THE DARK

To be trans and adored—a cruel dream when my mouth is full of blood.
I spit up cold pale tongues still crying boy,
face pressed to midnight pavement, the hand of my body a soft
monster on my raw teeth. I name my body babe, I am desperate for tender hands,
even if they must be my own. Night presses cool knuckles to my tear
slick jaw and I wish this water were rain, I wish something would save

me, skin me clean. I rise, bruised on every bone save
the finger of my spine. I’m tough with blood,
unallowed to tear,
jaw tight as a fist like I’m not just a boy,
reaching for the hand
of another boy, wanting to place soft

lips on the skin of his wrist. I want to love soft
as the wedding song of rose roots and rain. I want to say, Save
my hands


for adoration,
but it comes out wrong— I’m a match & babe, I’m starving, and blood’s
everywhere when she strikes. I spit out slippery mouthfuls, boy
hooked so deep in the meat of my throat a fist won’t tear

it out, no matter how I beg. Oh, how I wish I could beg. A tear
of desperation, a rampage of hurt, how terrible to always speak soft
when wounded, & this is what girlhood does, even to its boys,
how unbearable to be quiet about pain. I lock my teeth, save
my aching til it’s worth something. I hoard my blood
and bruises because joy is out of my hands.

Babe sneers & I bind my hands—
I refuse to use them for this. Babe, tear
a hole through me, pull out all my ropes of blood.
I forgive you your brutality. I hold you soft
on my skin, I love you, which means I no longer expect you to save
me.
One last punch, a sucker, & Babe, fists blue and raw, lays a boy

out on the tarmac, rolls her eyes, says, boy,
if you don’t stop crying, no one will ever love you.
My swollen hands
still clasped tight, a small pile of loneliness for sale. I want to save
love for someone else. I want to walk away. But it falls from me soft
as rain, I can’t help it, it falls like blood

from a wound. It’s just me & Babe, after all. We can’t be saved
from each other. Thick muscle inside our boy

chest flexes, we are of one blood
and bone. I want to kiss her ripped knuckles, hand

her my mouth, run us both with tears
until we are skin to skin, blurred soft.

Uma Dwivedi is a rising junior at Yale University. They are originally from Seattle, Washington. They have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Black Warrior Review, and other previous and forthcoming publications include Muzzle Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, the minnesota review, and Diode Poetry Journal. Dancing girl press released their first chapbook, They Named Her Goddess (we called her girl), in January of 2019. Catch them watching Winnie the Pooh or the Paddington movies.

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