kaidan kathryn mcnamee

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a testimony



last december i flew to san francisco for top surgery and my mother didn’t fly with me. here is the account. i was born a kathryn and will die an unknown artefact. i am an ongoing question. i am a persistent possible. i was born on december 8 and went under the knife on december 29 some 23 years later. i am a double sagittarius. me and i were both born in the cold. in a sleeting snow. for a year about my top surgery i have curated a careful winding silence. there was no lack of words, rather, a maelstrom of words in competition to be the first to fly from between my teeth. it was a silence of impounding. a silence of t erminal velocity. jaw closed, words chippin g at the enamel. click. click. click. shards of teeth sprinkled in my morning coffee. a hundred people ask me to write about my top surgery and a thousand times i say no. i have fortified my body, zipped myself up at the stitches and attached a padlock, throw n the latchkey across the crenellations. i spent 23 years scrutinizing this body. i have seen it beneath the microscope of a fabricated self -hatred and i have wronged my skin and bone. i visited my body once a night and brushed my fingers along the vines twisting around its skeletons and hummed to myself and mov ed on. it was a shell i could not vacate. i crawl ed my slimy naked self into other shells and every edge punctured me. so here is an unstringing, careful as a scalpel. there is a little extra tissue obfuscating the sutures. here is a many jointed leg i couldn’t tuck in before the tides swayed back to meet me. here is a cautious spillage, fearful as a prayer. look at what you will. 

to other bodies like mine. this is a love poem i want to sing into your bones. when the tide comes in, slip back into your own deep recesses. map every twist and ridge of your scalpeled shell. kiss a scar until you feel the tingle in a nerveless tissue. when your flesh swells and grows, a press against your container’s sides, apply pressure until you hear the surface crack. when the ocean retreats. when the ocean retreats. go seek another Elsewhere. go find a world Otherwise.

 
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