Half-Male, Half-Female Cardinal
Part buff, part vermillion, you vogue
for us in profile, show off
your flaming pompadour. Color is fiercest
in the face & breast, as if entering
a great red headwind.
The body of a woman, Queen
Elizabeth said before the Spanish Armada,
but I have the heart & stomach of a king.
Even your beak is the sun’s neon,
the twin-but-separate lips
the holy & profane. Spewing seedshells
to the ground, common birds
cheep their taunts: Hey Gynomorph,
whydontcha tweet us your sex
tips? Though I heard you’re firing blanks.
True, your right body refuses,
its purse shriveled & empty,
though the devil’s left
still percolates with eggs. While my own
right ovary slept — its hard nits
dotting the screen — my other half
rose to the occasion,
gussied up in its pearls. Is it true
what they always tell
the girls, how sex
will never make us whole?
Your boyfriend, his black mask
like punk rock eyeliner, whistles
and trills for you all night,
follows you all day
like your shadow. He digs your edge —
your fiery crest, gel-crusted
spikes — but goes gaga
for your cream-colored underbelly.
Can’t help himself, he claims —
I can help you over here, Sir,
the clerk tells my wife
as she swaggers by the rack
her big belly hidden
by the scarlet jacket she carries.
She smooths her faux hawk,
lays her purchase on the counter.
He eyes her up and down.
I’m sorry, he says, embarrassed.
I’m not, she fires back,
fingering those bright lapels.
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