Glass Caskets

What mysteries lie in ancestral roots,
what clues to illuminate the dysfunction
that permeated our familial ties, cursed
us with a pervasive sense of perversity?

We are a portrait of deviancy: still life
torsos, dismembered from birth, non-
conforming hormonal structures denied
reception in the aftermath of Victorianism.

An aunt, who despite her outer female
attributes earned the nickname Billy,
tried her best to acclimatize to girlie legs,
distracted herself with industry, could not

bear the swirl of dresses, nor the reek
of men’s cologne, banished herself to
far off lands, followed a brother – also
optically illusive – knew himself as Liz,

adapted arms and legs of steel to bury
his essence, donned military rags, and
macho outbursts, failed to escape his
inner truth.  Raised by this disembodied

woman, whose embittered cries echoed
through our hollow chambers, shattered
any attempts at compassion, we were
observers at a funeral, where the casket,

made of glass, held a lonely figure – head
and shoulders solely visible – all but dead,
suspended, like a science experiment gone
terribly wrong, abandoned in a gel-like bath –

embalmed dysmorphia on private display.
Lacked the resources to understand the
complexity of their sufferings, too entwined
to be rational – ignorance blinded by shame.

Only now, in the light of current revelations,
is the depth of our misguided conclusions
made tragic – with I could reach back through
time, adjust the settings to acceptance, but

lack the currency, have no recourse, other
than these words, to communicate the sheer
brutality of discrimination – have witnessed
the bloodied carnage of authenticity oppressed.

(Glass Caskets first appeared December, 2016.  It was published in Little Rose Magazine, March 2108.  I submit it here for my weekly challenge:  deviation.)

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A Woman I Never Knew

Much planning involved in duplicity,
when absence of feminine is intent –

no amount of research can release
her, buried in a home within a home.

Empty out existing observations,
imposed interpretations – education

only served to dismay us further –
all erasable.  Forensic investigation

required to grasp the inner workings,
only seasoned visitors have caught

wind of – witnesses (mother/father);
all we children knew was her name;

a moniker that invoked turmoil, yet
she, pregnant with hope, anticipation

would make her presence known –
a grand performance – she did not

belong; we shunned her, doubted
her veracity, convinced her host

was manipulative, depraved – had
no concept of acceptance – chose

separation – s/he pushed me out;
not that I was ever welcomed –

a child of this woman within a man,
whose obsession consumed us,

consumed my innocence, toyed
with my journey to self-discovery,

distorted images of beauty rooted
in the hovering pall of her presence/

absence; tried to escape, seek help,
create a semblance of normalcy, but

am haunted by the woman, whose
destiny, never achieved, now lags

behind me, feeding my frailty; wish
I had found the words, openness,

had dared to know her, to have stood
beside the she Dad was meant to be.

(Image:  lgbrpcv.org)