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  • deciduous qween, I, and: deciduous qween, II, and: deciduous qween, III, and: deciduous qween, V, and: Bayou Baby
  • Matty Layne Glasgow (bio)

deciduous qween, I

      of teeth,        being shed at the end of a period of growth

I forget how sharpness first emerged          from my jaw    the way milk teeth pushed  through tender flesh      how they scratched   then chewedthe insides of my cheeks  just to tear another part of me  raw.      I forget the taste of blood    a toddler’s ironon a toddler’s tongue    the guttural scream of a small creature  whose only language  was pain.      You remember.   Tell me  no toddler ever teethed with such indignation      tell me  your mama and I just wanted you    to be happy  to be quiet.  But your babyjust grew louder and louder  into a gaudy    and ungodly thing      losing incisors and molars  like enamel sequins    shedding canines    keen and shiny as plastic diamonds.          They’d all fall      out of my mouth    like sighsso high-pitched     they shimmered      in glitter-dusted confetti. [End Page 9] This is how I learned to sell my body        one tooth at a time    for a quarter    then a dollarand you’d hold all the smallest parts of me      in your hand  glistening white  opal stones unearthed    from my gums        like words that only shine  when they are free  from the dark caverns    of my unmuzzled maw.      This is how I learned to let go  for a price    those blood-stained roots      the only soft, dangling remnantsof loss. [End Page 10]

deciduous qween, II

      of antlers,        being shed at the end of a period of growth

There were two crowns. I wore them bothlike a pair of antlers—diamond-encrustedbone that began to grow from my pedicleswhen I was four, prancing about our livingroom in a Mickey Mouse onesie, doing thepretty dance on baby qween’s first stage—a shaggy carpet—twirling for baby qween’sfirst audience: Mama & Daddy & Brother.That afternoon, I felt sparkling silver gleamsprout from my skull like all my bones wereprecious metal, & I just wanted to let themshine, to let anyone hold my body in the lightso I could look like I was worth something.It took twenty years for the first coronation,for those fairy drag mothers to pin diamond& metal into my cheap wig. It took one yearto let go, to pass that crown along to anotherqueen like an omen, like the outline of a buckin headlights, his head tipped back, his eyeslost in the night sky as he braces for some sortof impact. Sometimes, I want to be crushedby an oilfield tanker on a road carved fromWest Texas dirt, somewhere between Ozona& Big Lake & Garden City, but I haven’treally thought about it. Sometimes, I want tobe manhandled by an applause—the force ofhand against hand channeled into my bonesso fiercely cracks spider my crowns’ metallicstems until they shatter. I’ll grind what’s leftinto silver buds, smoke my reign into ash, feelthose bone-fleshed flames fill my lungs. MaybeI’ll always wear my royalty on the inside, takea drag or a hit & hold on to that high becauseI learned nothing lasts, least of all an unloved [End Page 11] body. I’ve met too many men who don’t wantthe crown so much as the head it rests upon.So let them take that, too. I’d give up all mybones just to know they’re still worth wanting. [End Page 12]

deciduous qween, III

    of the body, the breath,      not permanent; transitory or ephemeral

I can’t lie on my back & look at the skywithout trembling—my haunches sunk

into the grass, my mind wondering whenthe ground will let go. Call it a universal fear

of what holds us in space. Call it vertigo—how we are all in constant motion, even

in our stillness. My yoga instructor saysthe final pose is the hardest. Play dead.

Pretend you’re okay with it. You deservethis. When my grandfather died, I heard...


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