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.
skin pulled from muscle and bone
swept clean by knife
Body monger tacked pale seams,
flesh sewn with needles blood slick.
epidermis bright in sunlight
pulled and stitched
Bones broken and lengthened,
snapped in air moist with summer swelter.
bulging past the desert of my hips,
christened as Dread.
Gene-streaked skin, intoning
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
lay smoothed for legibility.
No question remains for the gifts,
the names, I return.
I bless my appendages
I dedicate my thighs
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.