Body II by Jendi Reiter


“Body II” by Jendi Reiter


I would have to become nobody before I told you these things. Put my soul into a

doll. A lampshade with fuzzy tassels on it. I would have to learn to knit for hours. Become

someone whose mind was filled with pink stitches. I would have to be a whore on the

boulevard. Wash my thighs in the same puddle that the cars rolled over. There is no way I

would tell you these things wearing my real hair. I would have to play the piano first, but

nothing too difficult. Tunes to sing along. You’re the salt in my coffee, the cream in my stew.

There are a lot of people I would have to swallow first before you. If I told you these things

it would be because I had bought fourteen pounds of ground chuck and the National

Enquirer this morning. I would not know where meat began or ended. What does it feel like

when I tell you these things? Does it feel like taking apart a toy you found in the street? You

would have to break your nails on the manhole cover. You would have to grease lazy hands

and beg to inspect the sewer. Call me back when the cat scratches your eye. When you have

pulled out the heavy spiral of a soldier’s intestines and rewound them, when you’ve

unmixed the cream from the porridge and tweezed the sperm out of the imbecile’s egg, call

me. We’ll talk.



This poem appeared in my chapbook SWALLOW (Amsterdam Press, 2009), which was organized around themes of abuse and the struggle for narrative control in the mental health system.



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Jendi Reiter Artist Statement: 

Jendi Reiter is the author of five poetry books and chapbooks, most recently “Made Man” (Little Red Tree, 2022); the story collection “An Incomplete List of My Wishes” (Sunshot Press/New Millennium Writings, 2018); and the novel “Two Natures” (Saddle Road Press, 2016), which won the Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Fiction. Their novel “Origin Story” is forthcoming from Saddle Road Press in 2024. They are the editor of the writing resource site Jendi thought they were a woman when they submitted this poem, but now they’re a trans man who appreciates an inclusive anthology.


Author: A Room of Her Own

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