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Leo Gabriel Miller

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buzz cut baptism

i am freshly fifteen and heartbroken;

i am chewed up and spat out and stretching my skin over too-big bones

when i hand my father the clippers, handle-first like a knife or something worse.

i revel in the hum, my teeth shaking in my skull and dandelion fuzz falls

featherlight on concrete floor.

the priest gives the eucharist, my head tilted back.

this is my body, strangled with nylon and smooth in all the wrong places.

this is my blood, spilled sticky in places i cannot say out loud.

& when it’s done i sit in the remains and say to nobody in particular:

oh god i can finally breathe.

summer sinks its teeth into us like ripe fruit and the wasp’s nest on the veranda

winks, a yellow eye

keeping watch as my gender unfurls like a fiddlehead,

halfway to man and baptized

by a razor.


Leo Gabriel Miller is a transmasculine youth poet and visual artist born and raised in Washington State. His work primarily deals with themes of gender, religion, familial relationships, and the intricate connections between the three. In addition to poetry, he does painting, printmaking, and ceramics, and plays guitar.

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