Prisoner and Pride

This is a picture of me,
the rainbow on a chain around my neck
both prisoner and pride.

This body is mine.
Mine to own and care for, but
the strange curves of hips and chest,
the thickness of the thighs,
the high waist, the voice,
unabashedly feminine,
unflinching in the mirror:

Those do not belong to me,
photo or not,
flesh or not.

I am all rough edges and stubble,
gritty passion and flame.
But I’ve watched my demons come and go,
addressing me by name.

Still, I stand male,
though of all my friendships,
fear is the most familiar.

The light that formed this photograph
can just as easily devour it, and I
am caught somewhere in the middle
of fighting for myself,
and fighting to make the world safe for myself

and others like me.

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