Alain Ginsberg (they/them) is a trans writer and performer from Baltimore City, MD. They have work featured or forthcoming with Lambda Literary, Metatron, Fanzine, and elsewhere, as well as in the chapbooks Until The Cows Come Home (Elation Press, 2016) and Loathe/Love/Lathe (Nostrovia! Press, 2017). Alain is a barista, a bartender, and a Taurus.
Human skin doesn't grow up, well,
human's grow out of their skin and stay the same size, well,
human's haven't quite learned how to get rid of the parts of themselves
that they no longer have the strength to carry or
that are not even themselves at all.
A snake sheds its skin when get grows up, well,
a snake will get bigger and it's skin will stay the same size, well,
snake's have learned when they are carrying too much baggage
for their lack of hands to carry or
how to get rid of trauma like a habit.
Human's are, subjectively, not snakes.
This can only be confirmed because of the ways in which
a human will hold onto a disease so deep inside of themselves,
a clutch of eggs hatching out of a decaying rat,
how we breathe life into something deadly
and wonder why we still hurt.
A snake will shed it's skin two to four times per year,
poetry tells me there will be a day when
the parts of me that have been damaged
will no longer be a part of me,
and yet years go by and I ache for the death of these parts
how I know they will leave me before I am ready for them to be gone.
I've been collecting my dead skin, putting it on top
of every meal, outfit, pillow, like it lives where I live,
like it lives still at all,
when it's old enough I will teach the dead skin of myself
all of its history, how much the world tried to kill it,
how I'm not ready to lay it to rest, how I redefined mourning
every time I wake up next to it, the face of myself made of stone.
"Shedding" is a smaller piece from a large ongoing project I've started over the past few years dealing with the use of rape culture as a plot point in mythology as a way to discuss and parse out the multiplicity surrounding my own assault. As a trans individual assaulted by a trans individual there's a lot to think about. The demonizing I went through with my assaulter, followed up by the demonizing we both receive from the world, calling out vs. calling in, etc. I sit with these things for a long while and I think at this point pieces like "Shedding" come to light where I know eventually I might get to a point where it won't cut so deep anymore, but I am unsure as to how that will happen, if I want it to happen, or if I'm ready to let go of that resilience gained out of necessity from this. At the crux of it I believe this to be a trap a lot of trans youth build for themselves with their traumas, building it up like a monolith as a means of "well if it's not worse then this moment then I can still survive anything," which isn't healthy by any sense, but I understand it, and also do exactly that. Look up to the things that break us down the most as a means to never be broken that far again.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.