Stone Telling

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No Fixed Points In Space

by Michael Matheson

There's a hole in you—
fine as a heartstring,
thick as chain.
Everyone tells you so.
And you fill it,
and you fill it,
and it just grows wider,
and deeper,
until, hungry mouth that it is,
it eats you from within.

But it's not just you that fills it;
not just you that shoves names
and symbols and words and
nomenclature and wounds
and breath and blood and
hard-double-sided-hate and
tongues-like-fire and bone bent



down your gullet
until all you can do is beach
and draw shallow,
spent, on sick shore.

They won't let you keep your face—

          a woman's/man's.

They won't let you keep your voice—

          a man's/woman's.

Everything always needs fixing.
Snip. Tuck. Excise. Reorient.
Remake. Purge. Clean. Cleanse.



                    Unless you want to.

                              Then they won't let you.

And I can hear it in your voice;
I can hear it in the way you say
"I'm fine,"—
tucked cold, hedgehog, into yourself,
arms wrapped around yourself,
what self there is left to yourself—
"right as rain,"—
while the deluge thunders down,
streaming down along your face,
down across your cheeks—
"let me be,"—
hidden in the rain
so they can't tell
how much you hurt—
"let me go,"—
so they can't see
how deep inside you
they've burrowed.

And you shove your
hands down your throat.
And pull.
You heave it all back up and out—
what coats your arms well-deep and dry,
filth-ridden with the residue
of years and words and
purple-black-yellow bruises and
the ones you can't see,
courtesy of people who love you
only enough to hurt you.

—and you heave all that messy,
loathing, beating, breathing,
tar-black shit up from your lungs
and chuck it overboard.

What's left so wonderfully, blissfully,
full-to-bursting with it;
ready to be filled with you.

Let them do what they want
with the body your translation leaves behind—
that sad and empty husk.
That thing that wasn't you that they couldn't keep
from cutting, and cutting,
and cutting into.

Let them stay bound to their
unyielding flesh; their too-strict roles;
their rigid assignments, and the ones they
couldn't keep from forcing on you.

You are matter made materia,
gone in search of terra incognita—
you are starborn drifting in a
dark matter ocean of possibility
and undiscovered countries;
of the edges of existence and
still wider roams—
your mind an orrery of
multi-faceted identity;
made finally a constellation of yourself:
translated unfixed consciousness
gone seeking the ends of the universe—

                                                                                                  —you are free.

Michael Matheson is a genderfluid, pansexual writer, editor, anthologist, and occasional poet out of Toronto (the one in Canada). Michael is a Clarion West ('14) graduate, a Managing Editor (CZP eBooks) with ChiZine Publications, and a Submissions Editor with Apex Magazine. As an anthologist, Michael has three books coming out over the course of 2015 (Start a Revolution; This Patchwork Flesh; and The Humanity of Monsters), and their own fiction and poetry has appeared in a handful of venues, including Ideomancer and Illumen, among others. You can find them online at

Photography: adapted from Chain coming out the side of a truck, by Jeff M for Short.