today's gender

by Zachariah Hauptman

My mother calls me:
I don’t recognize the name she uses
the way her lips wrap around syllables that
no longer describe me
today’s gender is: pink clouds at sunset
I am not what you want me to be
and my body moves like the sound of 
wind and drought grass
if you call me
today’s gender is: three fawn-colored mice sleeping while being watched by a cat
I offer the wrongness up
on the red plastic plate of overripe fruit
because you brushed away the silver tray
on which I carefully laid out my name
and then
you ask me why I’m so
today’s gender is: running screaming into dark thickets and ignoring the scratches
The name which no longer describes me
is sharp crack of ribs
broken open
the name which no longer describes me 
is the pulp of my heart
between my lips
today’s gender is: seagulls on a baseball diamond
My name is not the name in my father’s mouth
is not the name on my mother’s tongue
is not the name between my grandmother’s teeth
is not the name I wear as a hand-me-down,
hanging loose at my shoulders, my chest, my hips
the name you have heard you have read is the name
that forces me open
splitting my throat so I can’t say
today’s gender is: not that
the thump thump bass of my lover’s pulse
between his thighs
reminds me of 
my name