"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Frigg | Spring/Summer 2023 | Self-Portrait | Genevieve Creedon
artwork for Genevieve Creedon's poem Short Crust

Genevieve Creedon

I would live forever in my cotton house:
hoodies and pajamas, warm and waking,
invisible to the outside. I am safe there
because no one can see the too much,
un-pretty flesh that started growing
after I was saved from Kawasaki,
the childhood disease that temporarily took
my stride. My mother says I have
beautiful feet, un-bunioned by my refusal
to wear high heels or other gendered traps,
but even so, my toes curl to the ground,
and a doctor once asked me why, as if
I had molded them into roots, reaching
for earth to ground my thick calves.
I don’t believe in tight shoes or pants
or anything other than compression
gear that helps keep my feet from freezing
in unfriendly temperatures but has also
turned my toenails yellow with fungus.
Winter cracks my hands, but they don’t break
so long as I sleep with cream-filled
gloves, my fingers holding each other
open and in fists, ready to feel the world
or fight it. I was diagnosed with scoliosis
right as a neurologist was getting ready
to pierce my skin for a spinal tap
that didn’t confirm his near-certain
MS diagnosis. My brain tells my skin
and joints to feel things that aren’t always
there: patterns of pulses and pain playing
my nerve endings like a harp, hallowed
and at times hollowing. Preferring short hair
or hats to hold back bangs, I have so often
been mistaken for a man—butch before
I even knew what butch was—that I have
given up on pronouns and unfriended
the adjectival and noun categories of others,
holding up a flashlight in the darkness
of my own soft harbor. I welcome anyone
willing to help with the seeking of new
alphabets five feet, four inches tall.

Genevieve Creedon’s Comments

My body has long felt like a contested site, and as a result, I have spent much of my life doing everything I could to not identify with it or ground my sense of self in it. Through this poem, I ask myself how it might become possible to ground and portray a self in this body and its failures at “fitting” into desired or existing categories. While that state of “failure” has often been a source of distress, it also engenders hope. This poem invites others into that hope, to open up the seeking and imagining of alternative vocabularies and social realities.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 61 | Spring/Summer 2023