Pool of Transformation

Unsought reflection –
Can the magic pool free her
From unwanted husk?

“Hush your mouth,” her parents say. “Hush your mouth, and let us cut your hair. It’s not good for a boy to have hair like that.” She runs out the door and runs through the woods to where the water glows and the trees grow too straight, where the wind doesn’t blow and the birds sing while they wait for him to arrive. She takes off his clothes, laments, and asks the pool to change the reflection. A crow caws in the distance: “No.”

See reality
Nature gave her the wrong skin,
But not the wrong heart.

This was written for Collen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday #203, an ekphrastic challenge based on the picture at the top. I saw the naked person, and there’s always something about naked children that bothers me, so I decided this was a slender young woman with long hair. However, there are no hips or breasts, so I went with the interpretation you see above.

North Carolina has a history of anti-trans legislation that I have written glancingly about before and which also was part of the influence for this haibun. Parental support of a transgender child is very important, and I hope this haibun accurately recognizes the pain of having parents who refuse to listen and force conformity.

16 thoughts on “Pool of Transformation

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Yes! I definitely agree. I am not (and don’t plan to be) a parent, but I think it would be hard for me to enforce any sort of conformity. Do I go with what the doctors say, or do I go neutral? Is neutral just as wrong as going with biology, given statistics? It’s so confusing! I think the main, *main* thing is to do your best.

      Either way, a person’s decision on gender is their own.

  1. D. Wallace Peach says:

    Beautiful and tender and so painful, HRR. My heart goes out to transgender children who experience such rejection. Your poetry is so touching as is your interpretation and the painful inspiration. ❤

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Thank you. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t write this stuff, but the 2015 NC House Bill 2 has really affected me. I think before that, I didn’t realize transgender was even an option, and as soon as I found out, I knew the law was villainous.

      And so here I am, whipping out poetry and hoping I don’t steal the thunder from transgender artists… but I probably am because I sometimes suck at realizing what to say.

      • D. Wallace Peach says:

        The more voices that speak up the better, HRR. I think silence is violence, and transgender people shouldn’t have to fight this battle alone. It’s up to everyone. And poetry is one way to speak up; it’s a medium that can capture the essence of the struggle and the pain. Your poem is touching and stabbed me right in the heart. ❤

  2. Colleen M. Chesebro says:

    Dr. G. thank you for bringing attention to the transgender community and the pain they experience. I’m always shocked at why a person’s gender, sex, or skin color has anything to do with what kind of person they are. You captured that in your poetry. Well done. ❤

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