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Arden Eli Hill, Bloodwater Parish

Updated: Jul 25, 2021

Arden Eli Hill is a genderqueer (he or they) white writer from Louisiana. To preorder a copy of Bloodwater Parish (an exploration of gender, sexuality, race, and adoption in poems) forthcoming from Seven Kitchen's press, please email Arden at Arden's recent and forthcoming publications include Hip Mama, Trans Bodies Trans Selves, Strange Horizons, and The Wellesley Review.

I don’t see you as queer: erasure as compliment by Arden Eli Hill

You say you don’t see me as queer

You can’t see me. I’m the ghost

of a girl, gone in the glistening silver.

We wore white and rabbit fur,

kid leather gloves and tennis shoes

lost under the folds of our beaded gowns.

Too young to be brides, we processed

on a float drawn by a tractor

down litter-lined streets.

With boxes of Mardi Gras doubloons

and plastic beads by our sides,

we threw favors to the crowd.

I was the debutante

mouthing show me your tits.

I was the one pitching hard.

For Adopted Children who Look Like Their Adoptive Mothers by Arden Eli Hill

North, where what the river carries up of the ocean

has lost its salt, Where are you from?

repeats when you answer Bloodwater Parish.

The question loses its emphasis on you, focuses on from.

South, when you were young, no one asked.

Women said, I bet I know who your mother is.

You weren’t surprised that they were right every time.

Once though, maybe the first time, you misunderstood

and thought they meant we know who gave you up

when you were born. You scanned the room, curious,

but they weren’t talking about blood. They pointed

you back to the same old mother you’d always known,

her face as familiar as your father’s, as your own.

North, where what the river carries up of the ocean

has lost its salt, Where are you from?

is a question that implicates your mother

asked by people who have never seen her,

who want to know what it is you look like,

who want to know what it is she is.

What’s your mother is a question from home

too, asked by kids when you grew older

and adults weren’t always listening. No one

asked you what you were, being as you were,

so obviously, your mother’s.

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