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J River Helms

By September 24th, 2020No Comments

[black circle]

boxed my grief & threw it over the edge of a mountain. maybe
limits only exist if we believe they do. i’m trying to figure out
another way to say i buried what didn’t work & took myself up the
coast till my boots sunk in the snow. do you ever wonder what’s
keeping our bodies from disintegrating at any given moment?
conversations kill, i guess. too many layers for us to ever actually
incinerate. something always left in the end, some piece never
reduced. takes me forever to fall asleep some nights. i can’t
carve a different way for myself, it seems. the journey always
leads back to the same spot with the same tree, my old names
etched & fading. do i burn it down or build something new?



desire is fluid, inconsistent, my dysphoria dialectic. one day i
yearn for bottom surgery because i can’t stand what i have. the next i’m
stroking my boner in the morning, thinking “i have a beautiful dick.”
perchance to never wake up again & this would all be solved. but i’d miss
him & his loud laugh, the way he lays his head on my chest & sleeps. if
only i could have what i want in the end: interchangeable junk; a way to
render myself however i see fit each moment. i tried to turn this misery
inside out, to burn the root & beg for something different. i keep failing, falling
away from whatever halcyon days when my body didn’t feel like a burden.





River Helms is a nonbinary queer person from the rural southeast. Their work has appeared in Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Fairy Tale Review, New England Review, Redivider, and Sonora Review, among others. Machines Like Us, their first collection of poetry, was published in 2016. J currently lives in rural New England.