"Letter to my Body" by Joy Ladin

"Letter to my Body" by Joy Ladin


Philosophers shilly-shally, but it’s true: you are me; I am you.
This dust, these rays, this strange internal sense
that after all these years, I finally exist -- all of this
is only mine through you.

You still seem surprised – that’s part of your charm -
that I wish to be extracted
from your handsome bindings.
This, you say, is only the beginning,

which is why it feels like drowning
in what we've both survived.
Ever the politician, I say I’ll be your widow,
smiling cheerfully as you die.

Not yet, you say, as though
— this is the other part of your charm —
you still believe in time.
Violent laughter, yours and mine.

Let’s go out into the woods
of meaning and matter, among the laurels and the mustard,
the unlit suns and unnamed branches, listening shoots and loosening leaves
we only appreciate when we’re drowning

in one another. Let’s break up before we meet
and fall in love again
in the darkening parlor of the heart,
let’s wait for God in the gathering dusk

and watch the stars come out.

Reprinted from "Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics" by TC Tolbert (Editor), Tim Trace Peterson (Editor). Poem Copyright © 2013 by Joy Ladin. Used with the permission of the publisher, Nightboat Books.

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is Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College of Yeshiva University. She is the author of Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders and has published five books of poetry.

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