I Wanted to Be a Boy

poetry 0
Kimberly Ann Priest


Because I want to be a wolf; because the earth smells
of sinew and green. Because his hair was made of corn dust
and cloud and I wanted to weave it around me, trust
his sky. Because Eros did not strike my thigh or breast;
instead he plunged knives into my chest and kept the heart
beating. Because lunge is so similar to lung, both
attempting a breath. Because I was breathing
when my mother bore me, and this was written down
on a chart next to the names of other living things—
and some of them were masculine; because this was not
a female breath. Because it took years to tame my teeth
and still I try to use them; because they are pretty. Because
I feel like thunder often, dance like snow; because
I am living. Because his arms were made of roots
and I wanted to trust cultivation. Because the sky tastes
of lilac and honey; because I am breathing because its wound
has made more room inside my chest. Because I lunged
when hungry and almost used my teeth; because
a body seems heavier after its dead, even though it isn’t.
You can heft its corpse anywhere without cooperation
if you have the stamina. If you’re big and strong enough.

Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress, 2021), Still Life (PANK, 2020), Parrot Flower (Glass, 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (FLP, 2018). She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review.