Two Poems by Natasha Dennerstein
Two Poems by Natasha Dennerstein
I was three or perhaps four years old whenI realized I had been born into the wrong body, and I should really be a girl. I remember the moment well, and it is the earliest memory of my life. — Jan Morris, Condundrum, 1974
So you have your tits “done,” and stay in hospital
overnight, welcoming the Elixir of Forget, relishing
the falling, falling of anesthesia. You wake up
feeling like you’ve been run down by a Mack truck,
with tight, sliced agony across your chest,
bandaged like an Egyptian mummy, but
you can’t help smiling when you look down
and see a bulge where your bust should be.
Recovery is painful, especially running across the
street with those extra pounds in front: you
have to relearn your balance. You are delighted with
your new cleavage, figurehead of femininity. You
contemplate further surgery: nose, Adam’s Apple,
vagina. You have no use for the appendage you were born with
and fantasize of a future where you’re all Woman,
when you no longer have
your mother’s features
and your father’s fixtures.
Give It Away
I don't want my Mercedes sports coupe—ice blue—
or my three bedroom condo with ocean views
you can have it, too.
I'm giving my designer clothes to you
my Versaces and my Guccis that still fit:
I don't want any of that shit.
Take the lot at bargain basement prices: free.
Take my designer shoes, my Jimmy Choos
my Bed, Bath, and Beyonds
my curling wands: I've got two.
I'm gifting a signed Warhol print—condition: mint
and an artisanal, macramé wall hanging or two.
Do you know what, I'm giving away
my titanium hips, my silicone tits
my microchips and all that shit.
I don't even want the skin I'm in
it's been inked and lasered
to within an inch of its life and
resurfaced, burnt, cut with a knife.
All the sunspots have been burnt off:
take it, use it, feed it to the dogs.
I don't need it any more.
I'm stripping my assets down to the core
to reveal my authentic self
in yogic gesture of Buddhist rebirth.
You can have my diamond engagement ring
three karats, no inclusions, clear as a bell
and lots of other stuff as well.
I'm not going to be a collector anymore,
I'm going off to a mountain top
to survive on granola and a bowl of rice
an occasional apple and chamomile tea.
I've got a whole lot of books I don't read
I'll pack them up in boxes
or give them to the library.
I've got a set of bentwood chairs, Viennese:
If you want them, they're yours: take them please.
Want some Leica cameras, designer watches,
Russian nesting dolls, Japanese lacquerwork boxes
a microwave, a crockpot, an iPad
a set of six fucking steak knives?
I'm getting rid of my hair to a good home
also my acrylic nails, my reconditioned liver
my kidneys and various other organs,
one eye and a heart, in good order, pristine.
I'm going to dance around in my bones for a while
then totter off in a skeleton boogie
to the graveyard club or the mountain top.
I won't even need the granola or rice
the begging bowl or the saffron robes.
I'll be stripped down to nothing
and I'll be leaving only footprints
and you can have those, too.
I'll be the fashion-conscious ashes to ashes
and dust to dust. Dust or bust.
Natasha Dennerstein was born in Melbourne, Australia, to a family originating in Belarus. She worked as a psychiatric nurse for many years, which gave her an interesting perspective on the human condition. She has an MFA from San Francisco State University. Natasha has had poetry published in many journals including Landfall, Snorkel, Shenandoah, Bloom, Transfer, Red Light Lit, Spoon River Poetry Review and Foglifter. Her collections Anatomize (2015) and Triptych Caliform (2016) were published by Norfolk Press in San Francisco, who will also be publishing her novella-in-verse About a Girl this Fall. Her recent chapbook Seahorse (2017) was published by Nomadic Press in Oakland.