Nicole Oquendo


You’re right, based on the definition you hold

so tight your nails dig into your palm.


Let’s not romanticize it—my body

is heavy, and the space I take up

is more than the multiple rounds of my belly

and the inconvenient width of my arms.


Let’s talk about buying a suit. How, eyes wet with want,

there’s a symbol of androgyny orbiting just outside,

and I can feel it in my hands, the material that won’t

rest just right.


Yes, we can discuss symbols more.

I own so many ties, none of which I wear.

My hands shake too much to work the knots.

I stopped shaving the sides of my head because

sitting in the barber’s chair, so often and so public,

was a coming out as regular as the period

I can’t carve out.


You’re right, in the way that this is not

a conversation, that my width makes me more.

My body is haunted by the ghost of a young girl,

the boy who almost was,


yes, and the frame we see with our own eyes.

Nicole Oquendo is the author of a hybrid memoir and five chapbooks, their most recent being Space Baby: Episodes I-III. They are currently serving as an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the editor of the forthcoming Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities anthology.


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Nat. Brut is a proud winner of a 2020 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize