Self Portrait with Corset

Dean Shinner

Acting up, these little rows of eyelets,
wide as a thumb running down my belly,
they breathe with me, against me, puckering
their lips and heavy fabric,

I’m trying to make this into a kiss,
trying to make this something I love: fashion
a world of that, just in this sphere of the body
rolling out beneath barbeque-skewer busks –

(I hadn’t saved up for something nicer,
you don’t financially plan for when you want to
tempt fate, tempt the transition of powers
to roll down from solar plexus to navel

With a drop of sweat and a bend backwards,
I am fashioned in the oldest sense: created,
carved by my own hands, and holding the camera,
the gouge to strike the last bits of little
pipes all out of my hot-wax body,

Striking myself out to cool & become.)

Dean Shinner (he/him) is a queer artist, poet, and writer. His work has previously been published in the Sigma Tau Delta “Rectangle,” and his poetry has been a semi-finalist for GASHER Magazine’s 2022 Bennett Nieberg Transpoetic Broadside Prize for trans poets. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021