reverse ghazal w/o landscape by Liam Strong
not even the sky is a land w/o country. or is it a country
w/o land? William is a name that doesn’t require a coffin.
it can lay outside the planked pentameter, in grassy country.
is any land good enough to bury a trans person when the meanings
of their names don’t coincide? until there is such a queer country,
i don’t know where home is. bones are made of belief
that they will connect, bend, run. mine must be from a country
where yogurt & freshly split oak logs were used. like limbs
are meant to, my name translates to resolute protector, not of a country
but a nation. there must be a difference. i don’t care.
limbs meant to protect? embrace? sure. coffins procure the country
of death & deadnames, so i must belong there. or i’m doing wrong for
my nation, my people. are these the same, too? the definition of country
suggests a nation w/ its own government, occupying a particular
territory. where am i? oh. that’s right. the country
i am in is called Michigan. this is complicated. but i am
a particular. i am occupied by droves of myself, so much country
crinkled into a single space. i only weigh 140 lbs. that’s not much
ground for growth. i seep into soil. i fluid into the unseen country
of fungi, mycelium of connective tissue. flesh axis of us.
of our multitudinous. anywhere will do. once you name a country,
you create expectations. imagine that: land having to live forever
w/o getting the privilege to name itself. land is embarrassed of country.
i am embarrassed of country. of how its name doesn’t fit its land-
scape. you don’t need a flag, a helmet of will. a country
is just one room. i’m satisfied w/o a name. i’m satisfied w/ never knowing.
LiamStrong (they/them) is a queer poet, essayist, and music critic. They serve as Chapbook Coordinator for Michigan Writers Cooperative Press. You can find their poetry and essays in Impossible Archetype, Lunch Ticket, Rathalla Review, Ghost Proposal, and Glass Mountain, among several others. They live in Traverse City, Michigan.