charm against negative body image by Tam Blaxter

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

the chimney heat works to break
roof snow around it until

warm wetness is seeping, soon
whole world is gone to brown slush/


your body’s just a thing of
ugly earth: splay it like

cracked cliff.
you’re not sure where to
draw the line between you and


black hairs curl from your soft hands:
let go, crouch, moon’s filling up.

under the plastic shelter
at the station a kid points

is that a

boy or a girl mummy
eyes scan you not-quite-secret-

-ly, i think a man: smile back,
equivocate, be rictus!

every time

you catch a glimpse of yourself
you picture your nose breaking:

no, let your body lengthen,
be wolf/ sleek tooth and empty

hope/ swallow!

Photo of Tam Blaxter

Photo of Tam Blaxter

Tam(sin) is a poet, historical sociolinguist and nb trans woman based in Cambridge (UK). They are interested in poetry-as-magic and poetry-as-language-at-the-verge-of-collapse. Her previous publications include poems in FIELD and Structo. Find out more about them here