Death of a Gyne
her funeral will be soon, the air whispers to us. I can see it now,
the tender black cloth, her body laying as disfigured as it is
today, only a difference in pride. my mother’s voice will
shake in blurry motion, her body a close replica, mine
still in defiance. I will feel her watching and
even then she’ll continue to warn – did you
know that my grandmother is the Mother Mary?
motherhood fossilized only in its most attractive
of forms. once, when I was young, she displayed
herself for me. she called me in and showed her ruined
and torn frame, bruised and broken and only for
the children he desired. this, she whispered, is what a
good woman looks like. her scars were grotesque sorts
of constellations, selling me a moral as myths tend to
stiches bursting and skin boiling, there is pain in
a body different than others desire. listen, she says.
a good woman would listen.
A Late-Night Drive With My Father After Coming Out
The silence eats through skin, and muscle, and
bone. Forget the radio; the antenna doesn’t work
and we can’t afford to fix it – a static of all colors
fills the space between us, a pounding rain of
unpatched tension and uninvited guilt bubbling
up in anxious waiting, his eyes never turn from
the dark paved roads in front of us while veins
protrude from his fingers, miniature blue roads
weaving through his skin as he grips the wheel.
He speaks, throat quivering. “Was it me?” He asks.
“Was I a poor example of what a man should be?”
The Lament of Bertha Mason
I never claimed to be an angel, yet I will fester above
your head as you sleep: a demon in your dreams. Give me the attic –
small as it is, I expect a bigger portion of your mind. Let my skin
rot above this house, my hair fall. Once, I scathed and boiled, once, I
wronged you and felt no guilt. Let me live here and decay in denial. Let me scream
into the night and weep until mornings, only because I know you can hear.
Let me spark fires in this house, let me remind you of my existence. I’m not sure which is worse –
the letters I didn’t return or the ring I lost. Perhaps it’s the crestfallen modesty.
You will fall in love, and the thought of me listening will keep you from her. You once
invited me into your home and I will stay – if we are not each other’s, who do we
belong to? No matter – you cannot release me. And for that, I will wait until
we both fall captive to the flames.
Biographical Note: Noelle Hendrickson is a Creative Writing and Autism Studies undergraduate student at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. Her poetry reflects a unique intersection of sexuality, religion, and disability. In her free time, you can find her devouring epic fantasy novels or rewatching Fleabag.