Three Poems

January 18, 2019

Consider the Strawberry 


What is it to say that it’s red, 

that it smells grassy-sweet, 

that it was petal-born and carries 

generations on its pock-marked back? 

A strawberry is a strawberry.

Can it be as simple as saying 

its blood is a red-light district, 

that on my tongue it is hairy 

like a lover’s treasure trail 

but soft like the skin beneath? 

A strawberry hides nothing 

beneath its skin. It wasn’t born 

with the affliction of personhood, 

it doesn’t hide obsessions or 

desires or multitudes. It doesn’t 

put on makeup to look the way 

it feels. It doesn’t wear heels

to make a bodily statement.
It doesn’t wish it were something 

else, doesn’t ache to be divorced 

from itself. A strawberry can say 

whatever it wants in the night. 

No one will press it to their lips 

expecting a kiss. No one will 

call it pretender, least of all 

itself. It will not be referred to 

as “sir” or “bud.” It has 

no obligations to anyone, 

not even the sun, not even 

in the temple of your mouth. 






Every Tree A Boy


I will fuck a new boy

on the railroad downtown.
After the thrill of an hour, he will leave

the condom blue and smiling there

on the gravel like a vein unfurled

to dry in the sun. Y’know the Stoics

used to thrust their veins skyward

in depressive moments, a sign 

of a raw exit should they have ever 

required one. I display mine 

at the grocery store, in the mirror, 

at work. I thrust them under people’s 

noses on the sidewalk. 


New boy blocks me w/in an hour 

of our railway rendezvous. 

I will not think of the old boy 

instead of sleeping.

It was not his muscles 

crisscrossed into black stars 

by the chain-link fence. We never 

shared the sticky possibility 

of a naked death. He will not come 

to me as cat’s purr, or as the sound 

of a semi air-braking down the highway

by my apt. I may wander too-wired 

the neighborhood. The trees will give

no welcome, but they will take 

on the shape of boys, each rooted deeply 

to his reality; arms almost infinite.  







Kink Shaming 


I don’t write poems in coffee bars 

says the gal in the coffee bar. I’m writing a poem 


bc boredom bc procrastination bc the words make me.
She has a skull on her shirt, some red lines 


pressed into the skin of her arms & back and 

I wonder if they’re rope marks. Has she 


been recently bound? I am tightly bound 

to bringing my own coffee when I don’t like 


the place’s drip. When was the last time 

I wanted to feel course hair, a raised vein 


against my palm? Whatever happened to my lust,

my craving connection? I feel like I’m alone 


in my disgust at the idea of flesh on flesh 

but the truth is we all envy bees.  


Do you remember feeling attracted to

Robin Hood? Or Simba? I don’t care 


what anyone’s into. I’ll pay them to stfu up about it. 

I fisted a guy last January bc he asked me to. 


I’m not sure if this was weird or exceptional. 

I guess two things can be true. The second 


time a dude ever came in my mouth, I definitely 

kinda barfed. I should have brought my own 


drip. When my boyfriend tries to go down on me 

now I turn into a hammerhead. I try so hard 


not to want whatever people consider normal. 

It is better to be bizarre, to be outcast, to suffer, 


it must be. Right? If I am never touched again,
will it matter? I admit to wanting a loose top 


I can wear to the coffee shop. I want my raven hair 

to spill over my slender shoulders, over my rope burns. 


I want to stop writing poems in public, share stories 

of my latest climaxes. I want to cup someone’s shame,


keep their desires company. I want to be a Bond girl 

when I slip my bra onto the floor of the cabana. 


I want to be Monica L., but w/out the cruelty we pay her. 

No—don’t ever touch me. I’ve played out the dp 


fantasy. I’ve cleaned cum out of my armpit more times 

than I’d like to admit. So that’s it. Don’t fucking come


thirsty to my house, don’t send me a dick pic at Christmas. 

I don’t want to hear about any inches, any “gains,” 


any kinks. I guess mine is to curl up w something soft, 

no notion of pounding or wailing, no need to dominate 


or take it or to force myself to swallow. So walk behind me 

with a little bell; throw tomatoes or cabbages. Shame me.  

G. J. Sanford is a trans poet and MFA candidate at the University of Nevada-Reno. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in River Styx Magazine, the Potomac Review, The Meadow, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Rust + Moth, and others. They currently reside in a tiny house with their tiny feline muse, Finn.

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