He/Him/His – Robin Gow
Everyone is female and everyone hates it.
-Andrea Long Chu
I like these pronouns best when I’m wearing a full-face of makeup.
I’ve spent too long trying to demonstrate and not enough time
contorting. The only thing I’m sure about
is that makeup isn’t a lie. It’s the only thing stable.
I’m scared of pronouns because they suggest foundations.
My father has probably only ever used he pronouns.
I’m so tired of pronouns. I saw a meme that says
Them: What are your pronouns?
Me: Just don’t refer to me at all.
The body is terribly mundane. This is why we need makeup.
We have been doing this for centuries. Maybe this is why
most cis men today are so so sad. Maybe they’ve never tried
painting their skin. Somedays (forgive me) I am a cis man.
It is so different than clothing.
Clothing will wait for you. Clothing you will take off.
Makeup lingers somewhere behind your skin.
Jewelry doesn’t smudge. Glasses wait on a night stand
but there are flecks of mascara remaining on your lashes.
When I give my eyes black wings, they go somewhere else
away from my face. Watch them go. Makeup is a reprieve somedays
and a twisting on others. Occasionally makeup takes the place
of the body. I remember the first night of undergrad I didn’t wear makeup,
a man told me I looked so so sick.
I did look sick. Where was my face?
There are some really great he/him/his makeup artists these days.
I think about the word male until its shimmery and expensive.
I paint all my men, I don’t know about you.
This is all to say, I don’t want you to refer to me again.
Talk to my lipstick. I’m a violet swipe.
Yet, it’s true though I don’t want to be a fragment somedays,
but that’s not how it works.
Robin Gow is the author of OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL DEGENERACY (Tolsun Books 2020) and the chapbook HONEYSUCKLE (Finishing Line Press 2019). Their poetry has recently been published in POETRY, New Delta Review, and Roanoke Review. They is a graduate student and professor at Adelphi University pursing an MFA in Creative Writing. They is the Editor at Large for Village of Crickets and Social Media Coordinator for Oyster River Pages.