An Ode to Port-a-Potties By E.J. Schoenborn

An Ode to Port-a-Potties

Oh, mobile shit box,
I walked five miles looking for an all-gender restroom
before I laid my eyes upon your beautiful frame.
All my friends complain about you,
but I know your true purpose,
scattered across campgrounds and sidewalks
like dandelion heads on the breeze.
You, underappreciated plastic pew,
offer sanctuary to those
who need it most.

When I am inside of you, low-tier Tardis,
I feel giddy and dizzy and out of this world,
and I don’t know if it’s love
or maybe some combination of ammonia, feces, and blue
finally affecting me for being in here this long.
Oh, bluest blue,
that’s the only way I can describe you,
the flavor and smell of always blue,
you, an endless well of protection.

Oh, infinite hole,
I know you too well,
the way you take and take and take all the world’s shit,
let it fester inside of you without breathing a word,
the way you try to tell people no,
this body was not meant for YOU to have sex in,
the way they ignore you, cum inside anyways, and leave you.
Once your purpose is used up,
don’t they always talk shit about you afterwards?
Say, “I would never go in there,”
before they want to enter you again.

Once, a man put a cigarette out against your skin,
a gaggle of children repeatedly kicked and beat you just for existing,
strangers tell each other not to be with you, they can do so much better.
Why should they demean themselves and use a body as disgusting as this?

My tiny chapel, my trans body molded into soft blue altar,
everyone thinks so little of you, forgets to pray to you,
spits on you when no one’s around.

Oh, queerest body,
how many boys did we let inside us before we broke open?
How many times have we prayed to Gods for protection
and received more shit instead?
And maybe, it was just the one boy,
maybe it was only ever just one boy.
But wasn’t that enough to crack open our stomachs
and let out the water?

Oh, empty watering hole,
isn’t this the price we pay for not choosing a gender?
The 24/7-opening, the frailness of a plastic lock,
the way people abuse us for existing.

Oh, my genderless body,
learning to love you also means
learning to love myself,
to find all the beauty
in a body full of shit.

By E.J. Schoenborn

E.J. Schoenborn (they/them/theirs) is a non-binary and queer performance poet from St. Paul, MN. A recent graduate from Macalester College, E.J. hopes to become a children’s librarian later in their life. When not writing poetry, they are searching the Internet for perfect pictures of possums, otters, and red pandas to share with their friends.

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