Poetry #103

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #103, Fall 2003.
For Debra Forte, Rita Hester, victims of transphobia.
by Oussama Zahr

My lashes, wistful, close

?Lids soothing eyes

Like aloe over the burn?

Close for moments

Longer than yours do

So you can look at me

Without reciprocity,

?In the dark under my lids

And through my mascara,

I secrete a light unlike

The one you think

You can shine through me?

I do you

This favor knowing

Better than you

Your vulnerability

As you undress me

Sliding my top down over

Hardened silicone bulbs

That you eventually cleave

To procure hastily

My heart, severely

Paring layer after

Failure to excavate

With your light

Some corroborative Truth to Subdue the erection

That defies you;

Thus you probe, so you rend, Scared of what you?re

Not finding, stick me

Through the way you can?t

When you discover

My one inch stump

The relic, the pillar

That you have turned to

That you cannot escape

Even with your 6?

Stab wounds in my chest

Any one of which suffices

To kill me,


Oussama Zahr is a junior
at Harvard, majoring in Literature. He has taken
poetry writing courses with Forrest Gander, Jorie Graham, and Peter Sacks; performed
in college musical and opera
productions; and is Political Chair of the Harvard LBGT
Student Association.
He can be reached at


Free To Be My Own Gender

by Angela Dobbs-Sciortino

Do not treat me as whatever

gender you

perceive me to be.

Treat me for who I am

and what I do.

Do not tell me I have to pick

one or the other

So you will feel better about how

you think of me.

Do not tell me there are

only two options.

Do not tell me my gender was

decided by the doctor.

I?m sick of this dichotomous

gender bullshit.

Gender expression can vary wildly.

Do not exclude me because

I don?t fit in your perfect mold.

Do not make an example of me

So others will be afraid to

show their true selves.

Just because I am not what

you expect

Does not give you the right

to ridicule, beat, rape, and

murder me.

I have a right to live

and be happy.

A right to be who I am.

Angela Dobbs-Sciortino is a graduate
of the University of Wisconsin,
with a B.S. in anthropology and
women?s studies. S/he lives in Madison,
Wisconsin. Angel is in a polyamorous
relationship with her partner of eight
years. S/he can be reached at