The first time I felt them beneath me, they called me Daddy.
Daddy hits a lot harder when you’ve tried to rid your body of masculinity.
It’s a bit terrifying to see them invoke that with so much pleasure.
Maleness becomes visible in your most intimate moments.
That weekend, I tell my other queer friends.
All of us are dressed in gaudy roller-rink-80’s-arcade clothes.
They nod along, either to me or to the thuds of the hyperpop above..
One says she would like being called daddy, smoke fluttering between her lips.
The cloud brushes past me, her eyelids half open, and I wonder if she sees me this way, too.
She says it so easily, like it wouldn’t even sting. It’s not a dirty word for her.
That night, I’m tracing the shape my tongue makes as I mutter the word.
It touches the roof of my mouth, then bows in some form of erotic reverence.
In those moments of closeness and delight, they look at the deepest parts of me.
No matter how many thrift stores I go to, how many layers of concealer I apply,
what they see is the wingspan of masculine shoulders, the gruff chest hairs of a man.
Shaved jawline bristling against their inner thigh, aged man’s sandpaper stubble.
Biology that overrides years of interbody warfare.
We’re wrapped up together beneath a blanket. Through the window, I can hear music.
Our skin layered, I listen as my fingers trace the shape of them.
Humming along, their head falls against my flat breast. The vibrations reverberate through them.
When I was young, I imagined vocal chords as these massive cello strings in my neck.
Starting voice training, I imagined them snapping under the pressure.
The bow of my instrument scraped against my lungs, and every failure denied me my femininity.
I bent myself into terrible shapes that I dared not look at
Here though, am I the mixture of my feminine energies and masculine form?
My body is not my whole body, my arms are not my whole arms.
Synthetic form of transgender artifice,
we are a tied knot of flesh and words. My voice hums, and my heart sours.
Jubilee Finnegan (they/them) is a junior English literature student at Chapman University. They emphasize transcribing their lived experience into their work as a form of self-reflection. When not writing, they are often reading, walking the beaches of Southern California, or caring for plants with their friends. They can be found on Twitter at @finneyflame or on Instagram @jwfinnegan.