PASSING – Megan LeAnne


It’s been only nine months since

I started passing


you tell me.


Eleven since the last time

I made love.


It is August.

Cicadas burrow into bark

and I think I’d like to be

so bold,



Cicadas burrow into bark and

June bugs drift around the lake

we would like to stick our toes in.

The curdled clay between

flesh and flimsy toenails

zaps a school of cinnamon sting

up the branches of my spine.


It is only later I confess

to a search engine that I do not know

what passing means,

and it is only later

at the Mexican Restaurant when

you wait outside the men’s restroom

for a stall instead of a urinal

I look in the mirror


and see that I am a girl,

and feel that I am a girl.


And for once in my life this

becomes a fistful of armor

a slow whistle of a stove kettle

bread in my cupboards,

milk in my fridge, clothing

that fits around my name.


When the stranger says

Have a good night, man
I wonder if, for you, this is triumph or

if this is the domestic flip of an awkward coin

you never invited to your mouth.

A coin everyone expects you to suck on.


I want you to suck on my fingers.

I want baritone saxophones, honeycomb

and afternoon rainstorms battering the lilacs

in the garden behind my house.

I want unclean fingernails and unembarrassed kisses

stolen at the church where I learned to speak woman.

I want a belly of wasps and the hum of fireflies

to show me the way to your bed.

I want to be feral and soft with you.


When you look in the mirror, do you pass?

And where do you stash your armor?

Is there water steaming in your kitchen?


You call me girl, and I listen.

I wait for the names you give me

to press into your neck with my teeth.