Poem 287 ± March 17, 2016

Mark Ward

A reverse straight-jacket
not designed to close
no matter how hard I try
to tie the fabric strips—
I’m exposed. I pull on my
hoodie over the hospital’s
cruel joke of clothes.
I sit in the corridor.
My shins are cold.
I worry that someone could
see up what feels like a dress
that barely reaches my knees.
I have dressed insanely for
cabaret, perfected Little Edie
Bouvier, lipsynched my way
through all the best parts,
a scattershot approach to drag
as art. I feel unsafe
as I wait for the ultrasound.
I watch myself pull down
the hem, zip up my hoodie,
cross my thighs so no one
can see—what? My bare legs?
My body drenched in fabric?
My discomfort that even I try
to pass, or that for a moment,
I felt like a boy in a dress
and that, for a moment,
I allowed myself to feel less.


Mark WardMark Ward is a poet from Dublin, Ireland. He was the 2015 Poet Laureate for Glitterwolf and his work has appeared in Assaracus, Tincture, The Good Men Project, Off The Rocks, The Wild Ones, Emerge and the anthologies, Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, The Myriad Carnival and Not Just Another Pretty Face. He has recently completed his first chapbook, How to Live When Life Subtracts, and is currently working on a novel-in-verse called Circumference.

This poem is not previously published.