she says come and he says go but i just say stay

both of them are always on, chattering away one per ear
and they will talk my head off if i'm not careful,
each trying to get me to submit to either's side

deep inside of me, 
there is a place that is only a voidless sun 
an empty space without the emptiness to fill it

and in that nowhere land, 
two people sit. 

one is a girl in a little black dress, 
perched on some backwoods stairwell, 
red red lipstick like the blood smeared around her fingernails 
and the pumps she wears are as sharp as her tongue 

around her shoulders 
hitting against her full chest as she sways back and forth 
are two braids twisted down far enough to brush against the topmost ridges of her hips

and she says, 
"It's me. 
I'm back, I never really left, did I? 
Tell me what you did in the meantime, Laura, 
Tell me all the things you did wrong."

and she cants her head, tilts her chin 
to point huge liquid dark eyes up at me 
and spreads her pretty hands wide 

to say 
"I saw it all and I hated it. 
Hated you. Hated myself by proxy 
And you know you despised [MC's] hollow ribcage 
That echoed like an empty theatre 
So tell me why you keep skipping lunch." 

she's mean, a cruel tilt to her awful, pretty pretty lips, 
and she says, "You... are pathetic. 
I can't believe you're me, 
Don't know what went wrong with you, 
And I know everything. 
Know the roiling in your stomach after you eat 
And the guilt indoctrinated into your very fibres 
Tell me what you did, Laura, 
Because you must have done something wrong."

and i push at her, 
push until her nails dig into my arms, 
and her fingers come forwards with a half-used tube of lipstick, 
spider hands saying stop fighting and it'll be easier 
as she snarls with pearl-white teeth 

and i shove her 
as hard as i can 

and she falls, just a little 
enough that i can still see her arms straining against gravity, 
holding her up as she clings to a ledge and all i can hear 
are the sugar-sweet high-pitched wheedles she calls to me 

she is unpleasant and easy 

and she is a she 

but the other one's not as easy, either, 
calloused knuckles and skinned knees, 
he is tough and fragile 

not jaded in the same way but still a little jagged 
"I know that you sleep sometimes 
But not a lot
And I know just how much you feel that exhaustion 
Carry your tired self around on your aching back 
Just because it's easier to be Atlas than Sisyphus 
Forever chasing something that isn't sustainable 
And will ever be unattainable."

he leans back, casual open knees, 
on his park bench amid concrete and isolated trees in their planters, 
freckled just emerging just like my own nose
and the reaches of them just like across my own cheeks

and he tells me, 
tone lighter but no less mine with the eternal disapproval, 
"You carve yourself out of your body 
And carve yourself back into your body 
Depending on what you need 
It's a punishment or a control method
And here's me finally stepping up and telling you 
That this isn't normal and this isn't okay." 

he leans closer, eager and so alike to me 
"Come with me, 
Trans is easier to explain and you know it's there in your gut 
The desperate bone-deep want for a binder
I'm there and you know I am 
Stop denying me the place I will continue to keep anyways." 

i push him too, softer this time, 
arms weak and unlocked at the elbows 
unlocked at the neck where my collarbones yawn open 
in a gaping gate to my heartway 
but i do not let him in

instead he stares at me with bottomless eyes
the same blue as mine 
the exact same eyes in fact 
but his hair is a short mess, 
close cropped and growing out 
dyed a shade somehow paler than our eyes
and showing up sandy like mine at the roots 

he does not scream at me 
does not shriek and fight and claw 

not like she did

but the weight in his expression 
is nearly as bad 

and i don't know what to make of this, 
two different parallel genders 
fighting for space inside my head: 
the she and the he 

and then me 
sitting in the middle 
precariously balanced 

walking the line that's not really a line
is in fact a blade
and every time i slip i get cut 

and here's the problem: 
even though they both coax me closer 
i am neither of them. 

i am in the middle 
i am me 
i am they 

you must understand 
neither of them win 
because i am just me 

no separate genders 
not a he or she 
not a girl or boy 

i'm just me

The End

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