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from the June 2020 issue


After returning home from gender-affirmation surgery, a patient navigates a new existence where the physical and emotional are laid bare in this poem by Mariana Spada.

After ten days in the hospital
the apartment is a desolate labyrinth
a power outage as you shower in the dark
gingerly probing at the new parts of your body
the gaping wound and novel brush
of flesh-folds in the open air.

With no false glow to cover it
the remnants of the evening disappear
and somewhere in between the promise and the certainty of rain
the bounds of things
—all things, including you—
are blurred, while in the courtyard’s trapezoid
orbiting flies hover around
the bright swell of the garbage bag
like a squadron of helicopters 
awaiting orders, preparing themselves.

"Post-op" © Mariana Spada. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2020 by Robin Myers. All rights reserved.

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