“Surgery Fund” by Evelyn Deshane

Our first car was filled with rust
I liked to watch it oxidize in the open air.
Our first joint-purchase as a couple; the first
step towards heteronormativity. To think,
I wanted the seven grand for surgery. To think,
I wanted it for moving to Portland, where
being queer is part of the immigration papers.
Or Montreal or Ottawa, where the best sex shops
and instructors who liked my clever Tweet live.
I wanted the money for something other
than being with you, my cisgender partner
who wore a suit when we first met
and still wears a Rolex from his parents
that was a graduation present. The last time
I set foot in Ottawa was in the winter
at a Women’s Studies conference
where they didn’t let you inside. When you met
my old friends, they never met your eyes.
You must speak the word of the day, perform a secret
handshake plus sexual history, or pull me by your side.
The longer I stay with you, the more my queerness
becomes an accessory. Becomes a narrative to recite
alongside you at closing doors. My queerness disappears;
it erodes slowly as sand becomes crystals,
& oxidizes as it hits the open air.
I become rust inside places
where I used to be shiny and chrome.

I hug the wheel well of my car; my rust bucket,
my trade, my heart, and the thing that takes me home.


Evelyn Deshane’s creative and nonfiction work has appeared in Plenitude Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, Strange Horizons, Lackington’s, and Bitch Magazine, among other publications. Evelyn (pron. Eve-a-lyn) received an MA from Trent University and is currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo. Evelyn’s most recent project #Trans is an edited collection about transgender and Nonbinary identity online. Visit evedeshane.wordpress.com for more info.