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My Gender, a Wildfire

Haley Pate

The child I once was will

peel back my petals and say

This is how you bloom;


Falling silently resigned to

burning standards unlike mine,

I exist in rain and rebirth.

Flaming bark singing skin,

smoke signals in my identity,


I am blooming ashen agony,

sunrise twice brighter

at this name I realize

was always mine.


They were right when

they compared me to my father.


I am a sharp blade sparking

against rocks inciting change.

Till I consume this binary

binding with heat from my core.


Don't know a man by

the timber of his voice,


Don't know me by

my given name

But know me as

I choose to be.

Haley Pate is a young queer writer and artist from the Southeast US, as well as an Alabama School of Fine Arts alumni. They are currently pursuing a BA in both business and liberal arts. Being rooted in Birmingham, the cultural hub of Alabama, they grew to become deeply passionate about the importance of community and the liberation of artistic expression. They have had their work showcased in Cadence, The Roanoke Review, The Sheepshead Review, and The Athena Review. Additionally, they have received awards from the Alabama Writer's Forum for both their poetry and nonfiction works.

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