At four years old, Deana is sometimes called Dean
and she is him is both is neither is me.
Brown sin coated in dirt streaks and smiles until,
Dean is deemed a 'boys' name. My parents only use Deana. My teachers only use Deana.
And I wash myself clean with shame and shadows.
At nine years old, Deana is a dreamer yet angry
and she is her and pissed but... why?
She arms herself in leotards-
To hyper-speed or the highest heights!-
racing to areas unseen where I exist, un-gendered.
Years go on and years go on,
demons wearing human faces rise.
Deana fights. She bleeds, falls, then dies
and is rebuilt a new machine, impenetrable.
She is an invention fifteen years in the making.
Deana stays awake at night
To smuggle clothes that fit his frame
To creep up on a moonlit mirror
To rob it of a midnight glance.
He holds his breath...
A year goes by, a year goes by, and again a year.
The machine is shattered [ERROR. ERROR. EJECT]
Hand, a broken hand
And my mangled spirit crawls into the harsh light of life.
An empty woman, a forgotten child, both are lost.
At eighteen years old, Deana is numb and attempting to restart
[DEFAULT SETTING: SHE IS HER] humanity. Barely moving from the battle wounds.
So she stands to the sun and burns to ash. And burns and burns
[DEFAULT SETTING: SHE IS] Until eyes open and Deana feels the burn,
now burning in her eyes[DEFAULT SETTING: IS]
At nineteen years, nine months, and twenty-five days old, Dean became Dean.
And xe is her, him // neither and both. I am all
Brown skin coated in battle scars, smiles, confusion, and feeling.
Sometimes, the aching ignorant call (dee-anna) to where my naked existence lays
The rest call Dean. And I clothe myself and go.