AFTER WE SHOOT A BREAKDOWN
IN THE MOVIE OF MY LIFE
The director pulls me aside and says they are
thinking of rewriting the script. Our original plan
was to stay as true to real life as possible but we think
it’s just missing something.
I am exhausted. We have just filmed the part
where I pull out my hair and punch myself in the
face as my mother watches. Like what? I ask.
It’s just. We know you’re telling the truth when you say
this stuff happened. But we don’t know if the audience
will be convinced. We think we need to add something
to the story to make you behaving like this believable.
I touch at my bruised peach
of a cheek self-consciously as they continue.
No one runs out into the street just because.
Or cuts off all their friends out of boredom.
There’s got to be a reason.
We need to write a scene in that explains this
whole thing. It’s not enough to say that your
head works like that. It’s not realistic to say
that you’d ruin everything around you
just because you can.
THEY WRITE MY OBITUARY AND IT READS
Or no, just
This dead thing is too long gone to be named
and who are we to say what it was
when we can only certainly say what it is now-
Something lost, soft and unbreathing.
I hope in death my body can finally just be a body.
I want to take my gender under ground with me.
And if they misgender me
at least it will be the last time,
and I will not be there to hear it.
Others can be left the job of cataloguing
a home that could not figure out
how to heat itself.
I am tired now
and am giving myself to sleep.
Lora Mathis is a non-binary poet and artist living in Philadelphia, by way of San Diego. They coined the term “radical softness as a weapon” and believe deeply in the strength of vulnerability. Their first collection, The Women Widowed to Themselves, was released in 2015 by Where Are You Press and their second collection, instinct to ruin, will be coming out in Fall 2016.