Brennan Bogert

Elegy for My Elegies to Trans Girls’ Bodies

I said       knowing well it’s all I have left       (like coins
in the hotel-room sofa child’s room sidewalk)       I’d never       write                     another

never feel those names—a sentence ending
             in my body—

but here I am       (dropping a notebook off at the community college       where the welcome mat
faces the wrong way     toward the street     welcoming us out)                      and I miss it:

building another box to bundle her body in          another newsprint wrapping for

                     the raw red                meat       of our organs into somebody else’s lap to say

                                                        look at this

                     Look who I miss

What a mess       I made

                               What a violence left of lips and hair and     the lovely ream of her spine
                                (swinging when we danced.)

                                                                                                                                                 I’m doing it again.

I can see her      bodies laid out the width of a page
        even thinner                   I can lose her        on my finger               but it gets people to listen

when we say her names          our dedications

                   are dead.      Our dedications are the songs we have left

in favor of the elegy.

But elegy       it works.       It keeps us going       fed me through one summer       jobless
     except trading bodies

and elegy?     it helped me
                                                      to say I’m sorry
                                                                                  I’m here
                          still sorry he walked past me.

               Building a box to bury her bodies in,       my dedication
means I’m living                 somehow.

But I can live without this
                                                                        the way I live without you.

I can live and sell
               myself in other ways.
                              (I guess I still have to. (


Golden Sings While Her Sister Gives Up Her Tail

A crowd gathers          in the club she left          & I swallow each man          like a fish
filled with eggs             take them in      to my mouth         & structure
them on my tongue.    Men float the moans.               I amplify
the clean ending                                                                            the sea-foam sympathetic.

Call mine a body            of electronic                  delay
Call it some kind of sea               some current              kind of body.

We found ourselves with body                  by the sea a body
washed up &     scented like a                    salt-skin fish
Gills tremored like crab         legs under sand        fighting the weight of delay.

Something in our cells smelled the structure
of waves.           But babe               I am so sympathetic
to your loneliness.        You choke & I             I amplify

what you are gasping for.
                                                 I am amply
such an able body           two wholes     to embody
the waterlung &              legless voice.
                                                                     I used to think                          Pathetic
Me            a school-less friend             a freakish fish.

Even the whales had been to land               pointed to the structures
left of their legs             after a million  year             delay

& I confess                       I did     delay
my coming to land        ate more kelp than I cared             kept yelling just to amplify
the waves.         But then I thought of legs!                            How nice those structures
& walking would be!
                                          We had dancing to embody!

& I had had enough of fin       & sonic     squeaking at the eels        & fearing fishermen
who just looked            in yellow plastic           nautically-knotted           so pathetic!

But how could I claim           to be better        still wearing my mother’s scales?           I am empathetic
to all the creatures           of indecision           digestion &        delay

to the people who throw a hand in in an                     attempt to fish
out a future
                        to speak up &                      after a time           bravely amplify
the playful forked pianos of their teeth.
                                                                        Whose body
can keep the same structures                 the same strictures of their body?           I will bite

any body’s impositions              change the skin’s structures
the body’s breathy           sympathy
to itself
              the insane attachment to stay breathing.           I will let my body
be sand soothing the motion of waves        each a grain of delay.

I can lie               lie down with you          & be an ampoule
of sealed & sterile pleasure      or the freshly netted fish

of joy      swimming with blood.                in the current        I decorate this body
break shells & shards             to pierce this structure.

I will make a hymn of fallow fishish
gurgles & gasps.       I can be           sympathetic

I can bridge         the habitat & habit of delay
& make a fluid                   language           make sound so fine
                                                                                                                —& yes—
                                                                                                                                       so amplified.

Brennan Bogert is a poet, freelance writer and editor, and collector of street-sounds. She regularly contributes LGBT Arts and Culture coverage for Go Magazine. Other places her work has appeared include Iowa’s Best Emerging Poets, Cathexis NW, The Paha Review, Little Village Magazine, and elsewhere. She graduated from The University of Iowa with B.A. in English and Creative Writing and is currently pursuing her MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. You can learn more about her at