By Iris McCloughan

I had always erred on the side
of the voluptuous, but
in Swann’s case, I was spiritual. 

Combray had become a village
of agony, so I cast my lot
with indiscretion. I got fancy,

wearing mended silk. 
On Rue Papillon it was
Mardi Gras, and I went

into the pockets 
of many obstinate men.
I had no husband,

for a moment, no sorrows
either. What I did have
was a million senses

that were all trying
to repeal the form 
that had been allowed me. 

I stored things in my cheeks
for later. I was replete
with anonymous recompense.

I was becoming my own 
roommate, acquainted
with better premises

in which to observe
my own reappearance
behind my perfect forehead.

The intensity of this dream
astonished me, and I was
impatient to deem it 

sealable, a bough
of something speaking
from beyond shade.

My curves were violet, my cruelty 
outward facing. I resolved 
in the mirror to continue trying.

Iris McCloughan is a trans writer, artist, and performer in New York. They were the winner of the 2018 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from American Poetry Review, and were named a finalist in Nonfiction for Best of the Net 2020. They are the author of three chapbooks, including Triptych (forthcoming, greying ghost) and Bones To Peaches (2021, Seven Kitchens Press). Their writing has appeared in jukedjubilatAmerican Poetry ReviewQueen Mob’s TeahouseANMLYDenver Quarterly, and elsewhere. They have collaborated with many other artists and writers, including Eiko Otake, Joan Jonas, Mike Lala, Toby Altman, and Julie Mayo.