Image by Emma Kumer

Poetry Idol

Topaz Winters

The god is wrapped in a blue towel. Mascara clumping
their lashes. On the bathroom floor, a dozen
Q-tips hemmed with waterproof eyeliner. The man
is coming in an hour & they are trying to look
as fuckable as possible when he photographs them
for his shrine. The god is changing the bandages
around their torso. The god is wearing noise-canceling
headphones trying to drown out the devotees.
Before they chopped off their chest, want was
a real word & not a failure of voice. Before they outgrew
death, they didn’t know exactly what it was they were
proving wrong. Now they’re just trying to be pretty
enough to pray to. To even out their eyeliner. To last
& to mean it. The god has been born in this bathroom
mirror so many times they’ve lost count. What they
want most has no gender except the unhemmed dress
the color of figs, the fever that broke in December,
the body they bartered to keep their name.

Topaz Winters is the author of So, Stranger (2022), Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing (2019), and poems for the sound of the sky before thunder (2017). She lives between New York and Singapore.