Hometown (student poetry)

By Talia Heyman (they/them/she/her)
Study of Women and Gender major
Smith College, Junior

Driving into the city on i-75,

I am 16 again

mistaking the accelerator for the brake pedal,

speeding through the stop sign or stopping at the green light.

I look out the window, and

yes, I can remember a time when I missed where I come from.


I don’t miss where I come from anymore

because I’ve found someplace safer,

where my heart sings without a muffler,

where people say my name singsong sappy

and no one wishes me dead,

where I don’t have to worry whether or not

my friends are on my side.


I am 16 again, he violates my body, and

my friends don’t take my side.


This was a time when I thought I recognized my face in the mirror, thought

a dress deemed me worthy of public presentation.

Dysphoria wasn’t even part of my vernacular

and that was the time when I needed it most.


When I needed it most,

I wandered lonesome into the bushes,

sat on a slab of dirty concrete and imagined getting older,

imagined a time when my darkness would no longer overshadow my light.


I am older now, I haven’t worn a dress in months.

My light emanates outwardly but

sometimes when I’m here again my pupils

forget to dilate

and      it’s hard to see the light.

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