Before a clownfish is born, its family is to gather in the belly of a whale & contemplate which microaggressions are best fit for the larvae. This phenomena is called sequential hermaphroditism & it is a process similar to how the octaves of my voice fluctuate depending on the aggregate count of camo in the conservatory. I curl my tongue around the concept of a Male, hold my fricative consonants close as I fuck myself in a Sephora, browsing perfumes for the apocolypse. The governor follows me into a gender-neutral bathroom and demands an annotated list of every instance where I’ve crossdressed. I must provide this to the state in 14 minutes or I will be forced to defecate in the urinal; my feminine melancholy, my masculine hysteria. Hearing sirens in the courtyard as the SWAT team busts into the stall, I look the governor in the eyes and present Him with a peony.


Mark Cugini (they/them) is a soft switch genderqueer poet from Staten Island, New York. They are the founding editor of Big Lucks, a co-organizer of Whale Prom, and a member of the Best Buds! Collective. Their chapbook I’m Sorry My Traumatized Life Is An Inconvenience To Your Perfect Existence will be released this summer.

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