I put my clothes on so I can have them taken off eventually
by writing or living or trauma—naked
in front of all the times I didn’t choose to lose my virginity.

I am boy and that affects my writing but not as much as
identifying as a writer who has survived living the life
this boy of a writer has lived. Here I am naked in front

of getting naked again in front of the truth for it to eye
me up and down and tell me I’m not good enough for it—
that I need to be nakeder and it’s about how I get naked

and how naked I get. I remember the first time I didn’t
understand sex but a boy was inside me anyway
which might be too much truth for some people

but I don’t identify as some people—I identify
as the room in the house of the story I’m telling myself
to survive today while not wanting to share this poem

but I will share this poem because not sharing my story
is what got me here in the first place—naked and afraid
but unafraid of being naked in public or dressing in drag

or getting my hair curled in Louisiana and putting mascara on.
Even though women tell me they would kill for my eyelashes
and some men tell me they would kill for me and some men

tell me they would kill me but in the end just make me cry
after not letting me choose to lose my virginity again. I believe
I identify as my virginity more than I identify as a boy but

there are no percentages to this kind of stuff—it’s just that
I’m losing myself more than I want to be and never in the way
I want to. I get taken away from myself more than I take space.

This isn’t about sex—this surrounds me like sweat.
This is about how hard it is to end a sentence
you didn’t want to start writing.




Wheeler Light received his BA in creative writing at Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. He is a Pushcart Prize Nominee (2017) and a recipient of the IthacaLit Difficult Fruit Prize. His poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Hobart, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Meadow, and Ghost Proposal, among others. He is the author of Blue Means Snow (Bottlecap Press 2018).