In the moments just before
anesthesia took me
to the bottom of the ocean (and then back),
I looked down my hospital gown
and admired, for the last time,
the fullness of this original body.
My original body had many marvels
but I always wished it
for someone else—spent
years daydreaming of my flesh
neatly disassembled, and sent
to more deserving homes.
But you cannot give yourself
away quite like this.
A scalpel and my breast tissue
waste. My body shrunk
to its new original. And it feels
important to say, that now,
under all this almost newness,
I can watch my own heart as it beats.
I can look at my life more
closely than ever, and how beautiful
it is, really, just under the skin,
alive & alive & alive—
like a warm moon.
Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Over with YesYes Books, which was a 2017 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender poetry. Their second collection, All the Gay Saints, won the 2018 Saturnalia Book Contest and is forthcoming in Spring 2020. You can read more of Candrilli’s work here. (Instagram: kayleb_rae)