Leaving to Exist

by Ivis Whitright
inspired by Alexis Pauline Gumbs

When we tired of organizing our struggles into
essays and court appeals, we packed our bags for another
planet. We ventured into the dream
of gender equality: chromosomes and anatomy
optional to disclose. We sold objectifying pronouns for
acknowledgement of life, but there was nothing
transactional—it was generosity, an
unconditional love affair between different and
same and different again. We snapped fingers to

metamorphosize. Intelligence faded into 
myth along with neurotypicality. Language
abandoned binary and hands returned to
soil to nurture worms; we felt more at
home when we admitted ownership is

impossible. We kissed with consent. We
dove deep into ocean and learned
parthenogenesis then returned to land to be
reproductive educators. Contraception was
free and no one had to justify their

existence for rights. The greatest crime was
hate, punished by community service in a
garden where plants sang chants from a time when
transforming deities lived on winter
streets. Our bodies were never
hungry without knowing they would be

filled. Beauty had no standards, and
self-love was learned early and rarely
doubted. Life was more valuable than
currency, so there was no war and no
bounties. Agriculture was careful and 
unrecognizable except to some instinctual

spirit within us. When we stood still long enough,
mosses hugged our bodies, and we
squeezed back by breathing.

© Copyright Ivis Whitright

Ivis Whitright (xe/xem/xyr) is a nonbinary artist and the 2020 recipient of the Rose Low Rome Prize for best poetry by a Brown University undergraduate. Xyr work is in Grain Magazine and the Bear Creek Gazette and forthcoming in Susquehanna Review and The Bitchin’ Kitsch. Follow xem on twitter @ivis_the_writer.

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