Renaming the Body

Victoria Trumbo


My names lay as gifts,

cluttering the base of our family tree,

wrapped by someone else’s tongue—

ribbons of DNA,

paper printed with black and white memories.



bits of me dangling from each limb,

christened as Loath.


Fingertips and heel bone carved

at scalpel edge, whittled to pulp

beneath father’s gaze

                                                unholy creator of unwholey life.



gutted fish

skin pulled from muscle and bone

swept clean by knife

Body monger tacked pale seams,

flesh sewn with needles blood slick.



crab claws

epidermis bright in sunlight

pulled and stitched

Bones broken and lengthened,

snapped in air moist with summer swelter.


Thigh plains,

bulging past the desert of my hips,

christened as Dread.


Gene-streaked skin, intoning

midwestern women

built for cornfield births.


These gifts pile against my chest,

while strips of receipt cling

to palms, catalogues of




spent practicing my names

in a cursive so precise

it received a penmanship



Crinkled vouchers for Loath


gutted fish

crab claws


lay smoothed for legibility.


No question remains for the gifts,

the names, I return.



I bless my appendages

Chicory blooms

I dedicate my thighs

Flowering Dogwood





Victoria Trumbo (they/them) is a disabled writer with a soft spot for the Blue Ridge Mountains. They’re a current student in Chatham University’s Creative Writing MFA program, working on a dual-genre focus in fiction and poetry. In their spare time, Victoria enjoys reading about disability and queer theories and gazing at the moon.