The Hermaphrodite | L. A. L. Friedman

Half a man, I bleed when the moon bleeds.
My cycle waits to synchronize with hers:
the woman whose reputation I’ll wolf into,
whose husband’s money shall one day sustain
my opium habit. We’ll be each other’s open
secret: she the showgirl of my pain,
I of her lust the inconnu. Polite
society will hang us – thief & slut.
Well, let the wide world seethe, I say. Let God
blush at the sick cruelties I inflict
upon my broken self. I’ll be your clown,
madame. I’ll juggle all my selves for you.
But even I can’t lift the mask that cloaks
my female sorrow with a boyish pride.


Writer’s Commentary

This poem, vaguely inspired by Charles Baudelaire, is a little fantasy about being nonbinary in nineteenth-century France.


L. A. L. Friedman once went on a blind date with a marble statue in Vienna. They live in New England.

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