show me what it means to be a woman
a mirror reflecting someone who isn’t me
the young being burned as a candle without end
dying from good/free exposure
gay cowboys dancing with their hats on
without a family without a horse

show me the girls that lost their lives
when they saw the results
the fear of a world
where the mothers of trans daughters
with trans sisters don’t cry
but sigh when they’re killed

show me all I have deleted
the texts and replies and friends
that I thought I knew hated me
the poems I have abandoned
from fear of violent reprisal
the words of anger and regret
thrown out because I was afraid
of upsetting someone
show me how to be happy
and awake at the same time

show me my face
as the mother pulls her child close
when she realises I am not like her
show me the face of the cis girl
when she sees her straight boyfriend
sending me pictures of his dick
show me the first time
someone wanted to kill me
because they saw me
as a fat faggot in a dress

show me lying to doctors
saying nothing’s wrong
what I meant was
nothing’s wrong that I can fix
show me why they stare

show me how to be compassionate
when all they want
is to ram their fists
down my throat
and pull my heart
through my mouth



You said you wanted revenge
bathing bodies, black blood
oil slick reflecting
flickering orange

I wanted a silent life
indoors away from light
away from them
cold cave

I told you my dreams
azure and black clouds
against paper sky
dim crepe

We clashed and yelled again
about revenge and respect
against paper sky
we burned

Wanted Trans Day of Revenge
gnashing teeth, bloodied mouths
our nails long
hair tied

Girls and boys and queers
together with bloodied bats
black and blue
without fear

Reminded that we are unnatural
slight confused boring sluts
waiting for men
and still

Reminded we are atom bombs
an ugly global threat
impotent nuclear explosions
fading away

I feel isolated and weird
under that pink rock
waiting to bloom
hatch then

We go to bed separately
with separate teeth grinding
on opposite sides
our bed

We tell each other dreams
azure and black clouds
against paper sky
burning hole

JESSICA LIEBELT is a transgender woman from Adelaide, South Australia. She writes poetry about transgender resilience, her own experiences dealing with cisgender people, and her mental illnesses. She is inspired by the poetry of Richard Siken, Audre Lorde, and Marie Howe, as well as authors like Margret Atwood, Leslie Feinberg, and Cormac McCarthy. Her Tumblr is jessliebeltpoetry.tumblr.com, and her Twitter is @jessliebeltpoet.