because people are talking about it
and because i have been all my life
whether i wish to or not whether i
agree or not and even when no one
really could explain to my fishskin
white and pink child self about
passing for what nor explain
why that word when the opposite
of pass everyone knew was fail
and even now grownup and stranger
to everyone i see or do not see
when i worry at the new neighbors
in this different south that i trust
even less than the one i was born
to when i worry and my white and
bemused husband says *did she
make you? i think she made you*
and i do not know what it will mean
this secret i carry in the shape of my
body though never in the color
the clubs i am not invited to
join and the ones i would not join
if i could and really it is no wonder
that when people ask me about sex
my words dry up and i cannot claim
there one club or another one safe
belonging or not because what it is
i look like has never in all my life
had any bearing on what it is i am

Kara Coryell