June 20, 2018 >

June 20, 2018 >

tattooed lady .jpeg

Another poem filled with familiar tropes of body and partnership

by Kayleb Rae Candrilli

Hours after first meeting my partner I dream that we stand side by side in a Home

Depot; we inspect the colors of every swatch, of every option: decisive yellow, ebb

tide, cascade, and dragonfly blue. Then, because it is a dream, some wind (with no

origin) lifts and spins the colors around us, in the only gentle cyclone I have ever known.


Years later, when we arrive at the hospital for my double mastectomy,

it is early morning and so much more poorly lit than we would like it to be—

the dark grey of the ceiling lights, the sheets, the beginning to peel linoleum.

We both look grey too, though neither of us says a thing that might sound like fear.


In the immediate days following surgery, more colors: medical gauze, pill bottles, the pink-

red plasma born from my chest. This is no dream. This is not what I would call a gentle

cyclone. But my partner keeps me alive. How else can I say something so simple.

How else can I be here, right now, showing you the colors we’ve chosen

for our first home.


Kayleb Rae Candrilli is the author of What Runs Over with YesYes Books, which was a 2017 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender poetry. Candrilli is published or forthcoming in TriQuarterly Review, Cream City Review, Bettering American Poetry, and many others. You can read more here.