Original illustration by Anne Le Guern


“Therefore I think my breast hath all/those pieces still,
though they be not unite;”
– John Donne,
“The Broken Heart”

The last man who touched my tits cut them off:
finally a guy who understood me. He keeps saying
I’m a “healthy guy” & I’m not sure if I should tell him
I’m not healthy — it’s just since I found out I could be
myself I’ve had a better attitude & I don’t eat animals
because it makes me cry & I don’t drink because it
makes me cry & I don’t go out that much or stay up
with people anymore because people just make me
wish I was with vegetables & flowers & roasting
roots in oil & herbs & sleep & being in love. I don’t
tell them how many weeds I smoke, how my body
is a temple to a god of burnt offerings, how my throat
is the altar of sacrifices. When I was a child, I sang.
But now there are too many ashes & only Men
have been very disappointed with me lately, looking
for breasts, searching my chest for more like baby
faces realizing I’m not their mother, or anyone’s —
I know they want that warm feeling & how they only
hate the idea of me, not me.

R/B Mertz

R/B Mertz (thee/thou) is a trans/non-binary butch poet and artist, author of the new memoir Burning Butch out in April, 2022 from Unnamed Press. New work out this spring can be found in Arc Poetry Magazine, beestung, and Another Chicago Magazine, more info at rbmertz.com. In 2021, Mertz left Pittsburgh for love, and they now reside in Toronto, Ontario, traditionally the territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.