For my Student on the Question to Stay a Man

By on Apr 5, 2013 in Poetry

Androgynous guy in classroom

Spoiled with comfort, yet unquestioned
in so much as my own sexual targets
& only at war with my penis
in so far as the process of aging,
I was rocked back by a student
who asked, not about a personal narrative
essay, but about his personhood,
the choice of his gender, the roaming,
the rolling of where his heart stood,
weak-ankled, always falling, never sure
of a landing. He didn’t even really want
to decide anything. He just wanted calm.
I spoke or did my best to speak
about love, about sex and changing
desires, about how certainly
the pressure he felt to choose one thing
was real, imagined to be greater, turmoil
that could be lessened through dialogue
or more attempts at dialogue. Surely,
one does not cut away at the loose parts
of their own body without serious thought.
It withholds he said, it stays distant,
the person I am supposed to be, he said
& I understood that much fully.
The rest, I assured him was nothing
he should go through alone
& if he wanted to talk more, then the time
he would need to pass the class
at our small career college, would go
towards a living comfort, maybe.
As long as he continued to show up,
I would let him pass through, as much
as his body would allow him to
& the grade would remain small, viable. 


Darren C. Demaree is living in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and daughter. He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and his first full manuscript, tentatively entitled As We Refer To Our Bodies, is forthcoming by 8th House Publishing House.