New Features

Temple R. Loveli
| poetry
Other people see their parents’ features—
++You have your father’s early greying hair
++You have your mother’s nose crinkle
++You have your uncle’s bellowing, shaking laugh
And feel at home.
can trace the carbon bonds in the threads of DNA
that shape their bodies’
sprouting, rooting, and growing through time
and feel at home.
Feel they are reflected.
My mirrored features serve only as nightmares, fears on my skin,
They serve as a history I must remember
++++but a skin I desperately want to shed.
The hint of having humor,
++++an inheritance of my father,
does not bring me solace.
What if, like him, my goofy voices, silly mannerisms, and dramatic faces
++++swim in transphobic slurs and racist caricatures.
What if my childhood penchant for rough housing with my uncles,
++++with boiling stomach, smoldering, tense muscles, and witty jabs,
++++turns into the violent fights of their adulthood.
I need to build something more than the porcelain mushroom houses
+++++++++my mother made,
++++abandoned with the rest of her art,
++++for false homes and falser men.
I smear cream on my thighs—filled with chemicals and hormones.
Small hairs root, sprout, grow, spread across my thighs.
++++Will these fibers be enough to grow a different type of home?
My belly swells and my arms thicken.
My voice creaks and stutters out.
My mirrored features shutter and shift.
I spread on more cream.

Temple R. Loveli (he/they) is a writer, figure model, and gremlin of chaotic, mischievous joy. When not creating art, Temple is working with radioactive cats and deciding how to convey gender through daily memes.

Fill My Holes
Poem as Lap Dance