Young Poet Laureate 2019 Winning Poems


you told me you used to sing boneless prayers on Sunday evenings, when Monday was breaking open on your knuckles at the window sill. I don’t pretend to understand why you felt the need, because ungifting a name of seventeen years was an ordeal I would never be able to give feeling too.

but see, they will remember the carnage of it, will remember this - they’ll see the blood on the walls of your stomach, the claw marks around your throat and think - ah. there you are. pristine and awakened and pulsing with the divinity of this name, a name that could unhinge your teeth with all the power in its vowels, it’s consonants that break with the fury of sunlight through the trees.

names like these are almost biblical.

boyhood stands in the corner of the room, picked apart at the seams, hung by its shoulder blades, it’s face smeared in grease. this is an old friend gone home. it will always be there, but not unloved or unwanted. it taught you who you were before you were you.

transgender is not a dirty word. transgender is a gift, is your truename on your documents and your lovers mouth on the days you thought you couldn’t be loved. metamorphosis was always a harrowing experience, but if butterflies can shed themselves, so can you.

there is no filthy to this. there is no filthy to you.