Alec Prevett

Gender as Riddle with No Solution

I am scented as a clementine and have no breasts.
In my hand I hold the opposite of an umbrella.
Sometimes I rattle when kissed. Other times
I fold myself again and again
just so I may watch paper flush with jealousy.

In my heart is a house with walls of wet muscle.
On the walls hang pictures of houses in fields
and only houses in fields. And over the fields are suns
the color of clementine and with sunglasses and isn’t that funny.
In the rooms of the house live the bodies I would place the house in
if I could pick up the house and move it somewhere else.

Really my skin is clementinish, which explains the scent.
If you saw a clementine from a distance
you may not know what to do with me. If you tried to fold me
it would be difficult and messy. You would probably want
to give up. At the supermarket, the stationery section laughs
as I walk by.

I am the furthest thing from fruit.
I am the centerpiece of a wake of vultures.
I am the god of worms, and Jesus,
do they love clementine.

Actually, I am the vanity mirror
with a bird pecking at its reflection in it.
I’m the bird, too. I am water and oil
and I cannot say when I am which. I refuse to.
I am the entire lingerie section
with caution tape wrapped around it,
and you cannot spell lingerie
without clementine.

All of these things are in the house,
which you’ll remember is my heart,
which you’ll trust is the shape of a letter folded thrice
then ripped up, the pieces flushed clementinely down the toilet.


Alec Prevett is a human pursuing an MFA in fiction from Georgia State University. Their recent work can be found in or is forthcoming from Redivider, Booth, Five:2:One and several other wonderful places on the web. They live in Atlanta with Patches, their chubby, cuddly, calico cat.