top of page




boys want me to take off

all the clothes that make me pretty

and open my wink for them and pretend

that I was not born to grow up

into a man which is a lie

wrapped in a lie, my body is a cage

like anger is a cage; to escape

my cage I borrowed happiness. To borrow

even more happiness I borrow

clothes from all the sparrows

in the village. In the village, I feed birds

to bring me clothes as I sing 

to myself. The boys? They are noise

from the other cages; a cage I left

behind. They think they are flirting

and being kind. They talk so loud

they cannot hear the bars rattle

with every motion of their body. 

With every motion of their body,

the boys reveal their ranks. I hear them 

even now, in this poem, Hello, 

beautiful can you help me out? Hello,

will you allow me to love you? Will you

allow me to touch you through the bars?



Cassandra Whitaker (they/them) is a trans writer from Virginia whose work has been published in Michigan Quarterly ReviewThe Mississippi ReviewFoglifterBennington ReviewConjunctionsEvergreen Review, and other places. They are a member of the National Book Critics Circle and an educator.

ISSN 2632-4423


bottom of page