Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

torrin a. greathouse

when my brother makes a joke about trans panic

it will record     scratch, replay in my mind
how he frames this like advice, this joke

a gutting, a taxidermy of my fear, when i tell him
i am afraid to live in Texas & he laughs

tells me     you have nothing to be afraid of
so long as you don't lie about being a woman.

& this is the truth, alchemy of my body
becoming first deception, then a heinous crime

& then i remember     how Texas still carries
the death penalty, like a proud flag, so my death

becomes a kind of execution, punishment to match
the crime of transformation. i wonder what the method

will be:     skull cracked against the wall, throat wrapped
in a necklace of rope, beaten until my body is no longer

my own, another kind of transformation, my drowned
face floating in the toilet's stale water. i cannot see this

as just a joke     not from the boy who still calls me
brother. who could read my obituary out loud

& still hear a punchline.

Definitions for body as prison metaphor


1. [n.] an enclosure constructed from bars,
                typically to contain an animal

2. [n.] an outer framework
            within it.

         see: stair[rib[scaffold]cage]case

3. [v.] to restrict a person
     's movement

ex. this cage a mess of cracked
      bars, each breath
   marked by the low note
      of their hinges, my sternum
   a wasp-nest of rattling
      bisected like a lock, each aching
   stretch a jailbreak in my chest



1. [n.] the basic structural unit of all organisms

2. [n.] a small room
          [as in a convent or prison]

ex. when flooded
       [over capacity]
           the cell bursts

                       body into a stain



1. [n.] the point at which two parts
                   of a structure
                             are joined

2. [n.] a structure in the human [or animal] body at which two pieces
     of the skeleton are fitted together

3. [n.] a location or establishment
     see: jail/prison/hole

ex. the joint is eroded, bone
       white dust, mechanism broken

   along the fulcrum, see how
       it shackles the body/structure

       to the ground

torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer trans womxn & cripple-punk from Southern California. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Black Napkin Press. Their work is published/forthcoming in Bettering American Poetry, The Offing, BOAAT, Tinderbox, Frontier, Lunch Ticket, & Glass: Journal of Poetry. She is a Best of Net, Best New Poets, & Pushcart Prize nominee, and the author of one chapbook, Therǝ is a Case That I Ɐm (Damaged Goods Press, 2017). When they are not writing, their hobbies include pursuing a bachelor's degree, awkwardly drinking coffee at parties, & trying to find some goddamn size 13 heels.