When My Gender is First Named Disorder

Do they mean this as a synonym for disorganization?
Machine with excess parts? If I called the parts of me
I no longer want vestigial this would imply they were
the vestige of a once-boy. Remnant of a never-was.
Or perhaps they mean it as disruption in the neat
arrangement of a system? Misplaced chromosome.
Missing rib. Screw balded as a knuckle. First cell to
metastasize. Our language unable to speak my gender
out of disease. Breasts growing like tumors from a lab
rat’s spleen. Cells in disarray. Gender as etymology of
abrupted skin. As melanoma severed. The scar a creeping
ulcer leaves. My clutter of apoplectic nerves. Spine a chaos
of misplaced bone. Trace vestigial back to its oldest root
& you will find a footprint in the dust. Trace my gender
back to its oldest root & you will find my father’s footprint
on my chest, sinking all the way down to my blood.

 torrin a. greathouse is a transgender cripple-punk, MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota, & assistant editor of The Shallow Ends. Their work is published in POETRYPloughshares, & The Kenyon Review. Her debut collection Wound from the Mouth of a Wound is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in December 2020.

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