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Liam Strong 






take a selfie

in the mirror


with him.

take a picture

of the mirror.


stick your

tongues out together.


his head is a head

above you. a reflection

is a lack


of creativity. what’s a faggot

if not a series of


errors & trials. what’s a faggot

but a gathering of little

birds flapping toward


the sun. what’s a faggot

without a ministry.


oh. that’s right. just

another matchbook

waiting for fire or friction


or both.

what my father & i don’t talk about

family recipes passed

down from your great grandmother

            (i had to ask my aunt for them)


what we look at when we look out

the window of your Dodge Ram:               for you,

shoddy vinyl siding

jobs, places to hunt, a new



              for me,                          the boy on the other

                                                                                           side of the road, tight

              dark jeans, clean shaven, femme-

                          stepped, femme-chisel, femme torso

              like a matryoshka doll spindled

                           onto another body


how we like our eggs



my new fashion style,                 why my voice

changes for some people,

trilled like a dark-eyed junco


why you can’t buy new clothes

for yourself,    why mom used to buy your wardrobe

from Dunham’s            why

your house is blue


why i don’t say our house anymore


how i can’t be a bitch because of

my penis

            trust me, i’m a bitch

                                                                                                            (& so are you)


how we’re not all dicks

if we don’t use our turn



the phrase “straight as an



the phrase “scared straight”


how i’m only scared

when in your vicinity


how i’m only

straight when in your



how the arrow never fails

its target


why my sister accidentally calls me

they instead of him

             how your chin swivels like a reclined

             office chair at this vagueness


how there are actually many of me,



look, there must be a way for me to explain this to you


you don’t even have a bible, but we definitely don’t talk

about it either way


if god could have three forms, can’t i have more

              than one



               yeah, ghosts


how you’re not superstitious, but totally are,

because our silence fogs up

the windshield, prevents us from seeing the fox

in the road we’re about to make

a funeral out of


how you’re always hitting                             me with your truck,

its rusted hulk undamaged somehow,                    how its

            your baby, a vehicle as old as me,              how

the truck is you,           how it’s never been

replaced,         how it’s so stuck in two-wheel drive

that you can’t remember what

the other settings feel like


how you snarl at rainbows

in a flag

            but not at the sky


maybe god, maybe

mom, maybe what’s the difference to you


how you feel about mom

killing herself


i know how you felt about her,

            i know that much


how the farm roads

             are filled with blood,

             weed-whipped grass, cairns

             of cherry pits,

                                                   how i want more than black tartarians

                                        blotching my thighs


how i’m the unholy

ghost,             dad,         i’m the miscarriage,     i’m your

           fear,                      your not-son,                            the college degree

                        you never had,

                                                              your fag


how i’m not                the one

            who’s a pussy watching

            horror movies                                                       (it’s you)

                        it’s not the blood i love

                                    it’s the blood i want

                                    to love

Liam Strong (they/them) is a queer neurodivergent cottagecore straight edge punk writer who has earned their B.A. in writing from University of Wisconsin-Superior. They are the author of the chapbook everyone's left the hometown show (Bottlecap Press, 2023). You can find their poetry and essays in Impossible Archetype and Emerald City, among several others. They are most likely gardening and listening to Bitter Truth somewhere in Northern Michigan. Find Liam on Twitter and Instagram: @beanbie666

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