I’ve never been much good at being a body,
at having skin and hormones
and hands attached to arms.
I’ve never known what to do
with the adrenaline and testosterone
flooding my system
and all the pubescent crises of the body.
A body is not something I am, merely
something I possess.
I’ve never been good with
making eye contact:
instead of looking at you, I look just past you
so you blur in the periphery of my field of vision. Besides,
you’re not a body either. I’m not even looking at you.
All I see is your body.
I look in the mirror to get a good look at myself
but my body is always in the way:
this tired excess of limbs
and lazy collarbone commas.
I’m not there. I’m somewhere
underneath, or just behind
this glassy world of appearances.
My body is an external thing.
It is not of me. I wish I could take it off,
leave it in the dressing room
with three other shirts
and saunter away.
I’m afraid I’ll get lost inside my body:
trapped in my chest cavity,
blood vessels shipping me off to parts unknown,
lost in the swirling daily imperfections
of ribs and thighs and face.
I’m jealous of everyone who
finds themselves in a mirror
and feels at home in their skin
and who knows what to do
with their body
in the presence of another body.
The sexed body is an objet étranger,
a foreign object.
I am a stranger to myself.
A stranger in a strange land,
a landscape of broken ribs
and corrugated rivers.
By Alex Lenkei
“Body Dysphoria” was previously published by Words Dance Publishing
Alex Lenkei is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC, with a Bachelor’s degree in Literature. His work has been published in Words Dance Publishing, Vagabond City, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Sun & Sandstone. His writing emphasizes themes of language, silence, solitude, and human connection. He also collects typewriters. More of his work can be found at typewriterdaily.tumblr.com