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  • Selections from The Littlest Death
  • TC Tolbert (bio)

When a death occurs it is not your death.You do not know this instinctually.The death is outside of you.You are in a dark hole and someone isoutside of you. Someone outside of you isis in a dark hole. You know this.You know this like the dark hole that isinside of you. You are someone.You are someone outside and near you.What is in a dark hole is near you and it is dead. [End Page 123]

Yesterday it was 28.

Today it is 29.

Tomorrow it will be 30.

I won’t be able to remember how to get to the Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial page for weeks. The year is already over and still it is 2010. This is the same year as last year and the same as the year before that. Yesterday it was 143, today it is 31.

Chances are any one of them could have lived in Tucson.

Although it is unrealistic to say that any one of them could be me, I say it anyway. I say that the women who were stabbed with sharp objects in their own homes were women who looked out their windows before they were women stabbed with sharp objects in their own homes. I say that the electrical cord will continue to be a weapon long after it was used on her throat. I say that the women with bruises on their palms were women with voices before they were women identified by the bruises on their palms.

I say that the women strangled with scarves were women with scarves. I say that the women who were beaten with bricks were women with bones. I say that the women who drowned were women who talked. I say that the women whose homes were set on fire were women with homes. I say that the women who were run over by cars were women who walked. I say that the women who were stabbed in the neck were women who knew they were being stabbed in the neck. I say that the women without names were women with names. I say that the women who were found in the dumpster I say that the women who were shot with an automatic rifle I say that the women who were gang raped I say that the women whose heads were shaved and their videos were shown on the internet I say that the women who were executed I say that the women who were found naked in the street

I say that they were women.

I say they were women.

And I say that the ones with sharp objects, with electrical cords, with scarves, with hands, with fires, with cars, with knives, with shoulders, with rifles, with razors, with clothes, were men. They were men. They were me. [End Page 124]

The 8 year old, asleepunder her mother’s desk in the morning.

(you are in a dark hole)

Strangled with an electrical cord. Shot.

and found
next to
her packed

Wounds and defensive bruises. Partially clothed. Shot.

A bruise (shot)    in the open palm of the left    hand. Shot.

(someone is near you) (shot)

Seventeen times. Shot. Stabbed in the chest. Shot.In the dump. In the street. Shot. In her home. Shot. Shot. Shot. Shot.Beheaded. Shot. Shot.A mile away from her body. Shot. Raped. Shot. Andthen raped. Shot. And then raped. Shot. (At close range) shot. [End Page 125]

the body hates being spoken of collectivelybut there are bodies collected and bodies held uplike trophies and there are still bodiesto be hunted and won. when a transgenderwoman says simply, I am a woman, she ismaking strong the very same musclethat betrays her. the same bodies withthe same histories are slaughteredin the same fashion by different bodieswith the same designation: men. the body hearsa voice like its own voice say, I am a woman,and it wants the voice to apologize. it wantsthe voice to be wrong. when the body attacks itselfthere is...


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pp. 123-128
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