One night, sitting on a wobbling stool in a basement bar, I went shot for shot with
my father to prove my rage. I liked the jolt of euphoria, the slow burn coating my
throat, but I knew I needed water more than whiskey. I remember arching my head
back in the joy of a good piss, and I remember my head smacking concrete. Nothing
was more rewarding than the double headache the next morning, my first and last
gifts for turning 21. I never told him. Both hungover, he drove me back to campus
as I pretended to sleep.
I announce my deadname every time I pick up my hormones
in the same breath
I give my voice to a woman
who takes my name and date
of birth to access the two
prescriptions waiting for me
on the shelves behind her.
just once I want her
to lean forward and whisper
through the glass
if there’s anything else
I want to be called
to feel the shame
of knowing she knew
enough to ask.
Robin Arble is a poet and writer from Western Massachusetts. Her poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Oakland Arts Review, Beestung, Door Is A Jar, Pøst-, Brazos River Review, Overheard Magazine, and Your Impossible Voice, among others. They are a poetry reader for Beaver Magazine and the Massachusetts Review. She studies literature and creative writing at Hampshire College.