by Boyd Bauman
Agender, Bigender, Cisgender: the new ABCs.
Gender fluid, Gender non-conforming,
Gender questioning, Genderqueer,
Misgender, Transgender, Transexual, Non-binary...
Even with Google close at hand,
I can't keep the terms straight
(Forgive me my old school modifier.)
Do I identify with the gender to which I was born?
Yes. Equivocally: I've never lusted after a Glock
nor to dropkick a cat,
and I've met few who describe poetry
as a purely masculine endeavor.
It seems I'm half female
on my mother's side.
Native Americans celebrated
the arrival of a Two-spirit,
a being (beings?) seen as endowed
with curative and spiritual powers.
Whitman contained multitudes.
So there was always nomenclature,
even in the tiny Midwestern town of my youth,
in those rare moments someone spoke
on such subjects:
Cousin Dwayne’s friend visited weekends.
Two ladies down the street kept to themselves,
partners in at least their landscaping business.
The music teacher left his wife and moved
to the city for a change in lifestyle.
Old Farmer Jameson died
with his longtime companion by his side.
My childish brain couldn't grasp
exactly what those terms meant, either,
but I could tell by the tone
of those fluid enough in their thinking
that all were free to live their own lives,
that we were called to love everyone
by the same name.
Boyd Bauman grew up on a small ranch near Bern, Kansas, his dad the storyteller, mom the family scribe. His books of poetry are Cleave and Scheherazade Plays the Chestnut Tree Café. After stints in New York, Colorado, Alaska, Japan, and Vietnam, Boyd writes in Kansas City. Visit at boydbauman.weebly.com.