Transsexual Daydreams by Apollo Chastain

An angel came to me the other
day, said “Wanna make out in my
car?” I’ve not been so keen on
that sort of thing since
dysphoria set in, the guilty teeth
of wolverines sliding scalpel-sharp
in the space beneath my breasts. But
this wasn’t a beautiful command, nor
was it the word of God:
The angel pleads like 50s lounge
singers in with the mob do when their
debt comes calling:
“neither of us are beautiful,
but the divine never is.” 

Necks thrown back with the dripping
strain of an upturned melody. Steady
whine of string: catgut, nylon,
dribbling down satisfied cheeks. 
Thumb of flesh below the pale harp
of my beloved’s mouth to thrum 
a job well-done.

A bird came by today. Not
a chickadee, nor a nuthatch, in
fact not any of the species I
might recognize as my
grandmother taught me, years
ago. Rather one whose name I do not 
know, much like my grandmother
did not live to see the name 
I go by now. It does not matter.

As all names are, irritants,
vectors for change.

Apollo Chastain (ze/hir) is a 20-year-old who writes poetry for people who didn’t think they’d make it this far and for kids who don’t think they’re gonna make it at all. The recipient of the 2021 Academy of American Poets Prize and three-time winner of the National YoungArts competition, Apollo’s work appears in journals including and the Trans Masc Diaries, and under a dead name in journals including The Rumpus and Yes Poetry. Pay hir a visit at, or on Instagram @apollo.chastain