In an Operating Room Outside of the Cis Woman’s Imagination

In response to Sharon Olds’ poem “Outside the Operating Room of the Sex-Change Doctor”

            In an operating room outside of the cis woman’s imagination,
no tray of organs—severed.
            No blood for her to leaden with a massacre’s name.
After anesthesia, nothing is removed. Nothing wasted. Instead, skin
budded inward, a rose blooming into its own mouth.
            While the patient is still sedated, the doctor scalpels genesis,
sutures her body toward the truth.
            There is no organ severed & named a weapon for the convenience
of a body’s disposal.
            No organ severed & speaking at all. Made a puppet in the lazy
pantomime of metaphor.
            If anything is cut away, let it be the word his from the tip
of the cis woman’s tongue. Let it be her tongue.
            If anything speaks, let it be the new & perfect organ, who says
I was a Georgia O’Keefe painting dressed in drag & now, darlings
see how I bloom, how my petals slowdance the breeze.

            The cis woman’s severed tongue says nothing—least of all
to name trans women animals.
            The poem is about imagination? Right? I want to tell you
that I believe the tongue would whisper I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
            I’m not willing to lie.

Originally published as a broadside by Radical Paper Press. Copyright © 2019 by torrin a. greathouse. Used with the permission of the author