this is a trans poem about swans

by Danielle Rose

“this is a trans poem about swans” placed second in THE BODY contest (poetry), judged by Roy G. Guzmán.

which begins in the boston garden / where people sit inside giant wooden swans

& i am the swan / this is normal / i watch the families cross the footbridge like balloons let adrift or pigeons darting after scraps of bread / because this is a long journey / it is something like orpheus a vertical transformation / but i could not pretend to cultivate myself like a garden / this body is something i am forced to touch when i suddenly grasp for love in the middle of the night / i want to become a myth that travels under & then above again but emerges differently / to become something beautiful like a swan fleeing from itself forever / this is a trans poem about swans & i desperately wish for it to be beautiful / but beauty does not escape & become a silent parking lot / in an emergency it cannot be trusted to shuffle quickly toward the nearest exit / it will never bring me away from where this body started / & so i am the swan / opened / because this is a trans poem about swans we must see entrails spilling / her flesh cut open with surgical precision / this is my body a temple under renovation / a pristine bright surgical center / a way to perhaps swim forward / after

Danielle Rose lives in Massachusetts with her partner & their two cats. She is the managing editor of Dovecote Magazine and used to be a boy. Her recent work can be found or is forthcoming in Kissing Dynamite, Third Point Press, Luna Luna and Random Sample Review.

Artwork by: Ashley Inguanta

Ashley Inguanta is an art and portrait photographer. Starting out in photojournalism, Ashley found her love for landscape, place, and human expression as she navigated the world of newspapers in the late 2000s. For five years, she served as Art Director to SmokeLong Quarterly, and she’s also collaborated on book cover projects with indie publishers like Burrow Press and Press 53. Additionally, Ashley is the author of three collections: A chapbook, The Way Home (Dancing Girl Press 2013); a hardcover art and poetry collection, For the Woman Alone (Ampersand Books 2014); and Bomb, a full-length collection of poetry (Ampersand Books 2016). Her newest full-length collection of poetry and prose, The Flower, is forthcoming with Ampersand Books.