Creative Work Poetry

four poems

by Keagan Wheat
“I had been thinking
about my fading memory
of dinosaurs, my fading
desire to prove a boyhood
by standards I disregard.”


I tried to quickly pass 
a fragile dead bird,
but I realized this
broken discolored eye
was a toy.
I stopped.
A sort of raptor
adorned with feathers 
carved into the body
weathered sandy and brown
to cartoon-sludge grey.

It felt like I
summoned this wreck; 
I had been thinking 
about my fading memory
of dinosaurs, my fading
desire to prove a boyhood
by standards I disregard.

For Being Lived With

When he calls out Felicia, an old name,
I’m pulled away from my body.
I can only see the places 
that grew too much or not at all.
When I hear Felicia I hear him saying,
We’re a heterosexual couple, but still queer.
I hear of course, you’re a lesbian.

You and I sit in a creaky chair
through a lecture on some ancient text. 
The lecturer gets worked up
about the societal importance
of naming a baby. He starts leaving
off  in the book… 
He claims that names make a person, 
forgetting myocardium or atrium.
We sit in this chair, with your name 
our mom chose when she only saw you.


I get stopped every time I go through airport 
security. I am a red flag. 
You and I don’t go together, 
but stand in the monitor at the same time. They try 
to make sense of us in a moment, 
but it never quite works out.

        Wait here,  they address you. 
        There’s something wrong,  they speak of me. 

First, she checks your hands that are too small. She 
wants to know whether 
or not you have drugs. Really, 
she is following procedure. When someone this ambiguous 
walks through the line, 
that person faces many steps. 

        Is this your bag? an agent calls, across 
the group of people, 
to me near another agent 
starting to pat me down. My bag, with me in it, 
makes someone else search me 
as they search you. It’s awful 

to witness yourself get pat down. The agent 
searching you invites 
another woman to see oddity 
to pat you down in a place I forget exists. 
But now it exists in front of everyone. These women 
need you to go
 to a room off to the side, 

because they don’t feel comfortable with this 
body in front
of them. I have never been 
such a problem to warrant being taken to this room. 
I didn’t even know where 
the private search room was until 

now. Until I had to walk into this frosted
-glass showcase 
with two strangers that thought my body 
wasn’t the way it should’ve been.

Low Risk

Glancing at the exit,
I stand at the sink. He
steps in, makes eye 
contact, and backs out 
releasing the swinging door. 

Thin sheets of paper
towel dry my hands,
hoping to take long 
enough to not see him 
on the way down the hall. 

Question if I really should 
be going to the men’s room. 

It doesn’t matter trans people 
have high rates of UTIs, it’s 
unrelated. What is my body 
for, if not retention, if not constraint. 

He looked me in the eye 
as he backed away from the confusion 
of my body. I wish I could leave as quietly as he. 
  Slip out of this mess with such quick feet, such simplicity. 

Decide I don’t belong here, 
       go to the women’s room 
             with no indecision.  Lucky pity 
                     doesn’t often result in action.

       She walks into the women’s room;
           on my way out, she smiles, hey.
              Her voice curls into uptick question.
                Each gaze falls to vertex on terrazzo flooring.            

About the Writer: Keagan Wheat writes poetry focused on FTM identity and his congenital heart disease. His work appears in Glass Mountain 24, Shards 4 & 7, and Sink Hollow Issue 8. He is the Poetry Editor of Defunkt Magazine. Living in Houston, Texas, he enjoys collecting odd dinosaur facts and listening to way too many hours of podcasts.

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