GenderQueer Literature

Light Spots: Poetry.

Sylvia Bernhardt

Light Spots

Blind courage 

Has moved me once more.

Scabbed yet gently painted,

My toes brush the dirt aside

To check for glass or unknown

Hurts. Others,

Blind in their own respects,

Dropped spilt or threw

On the path I trod.

Pilgrims passing through will

Look upon me, with jealous

Tired, eyes. Beneath my,

Brown iris, fervent fear

Streaks through like,

Darkened ink stains. 

The universe must look

Upon me in pity.

Cast it away.

I do not. 

Not yet.

Tightened to my waist.

A flimsy measure to

Hold me incase this,

Path becomes traitorous.

Despite the valiant effort,

From my war-torn toes,

Glass still cuts through.

Thorns still pierce, 

And the rope,


Makes breathing,

Difficult. Yet,


A spot of light,

That splits the canopy

Of leaves and lands

On the palm

Of my outstretched hand.

Holy Reverence,

For a light,

I failed to see,

Before this mission.

The path is dark, misty

Cold and beautiful. Maybe,

At the end I will see the sun.

Lead me blind courage,

Lift my foot once more.

Scars and Lipstick

It is a wonder for me,

To be here.

Yet, here is where I am.

Clean and steamed.

Unharmed but not unscarred.

Tears, pokes, and prods

At one point blessed this body.

Before I was myself.

An alien holding a mask.

That I tore at and bit.

Gnawed upon and slit,

In the desperate gropes 

Of my animalistic nature. 


Here I am.


Unnatural proportions,

And extra things

I wish I never had.

But, I can look

Now, Upon myself.

No tears slip through.

The face I once 

Had loathed,

Has now softened.

I can gaze,

Into a steam-marked mirror,

After a quick shower,

And not wish to throw

Myself against the glass.

Till the shards bit deep enough

For this costume to give and

Slide away into the sink.

There. My eye.

So gentle it appears.

Reflective of a part

That I have hidden.

No more.

It shines in the corner.

A delicate fire tending

To the needs of the soul.

Is this what it means,

To feel my heart beat

And not wish it to cease?

This feeling so small.

Delicate and easy for

Others to crush and mangle.

Remember, remember,

The price we paid,

The skin we scarrerd,

Scaling this slope.

I wiggle my hips,

I smile.


If Caliban were to gaze upon its own flesh what would it think?

Monstrous legs twisting like the tendrils of a mangrove, swathed with matted hair,

The skin beneath coarse and pale as if the sun herself were ashamed to look,

Scarred and damaged, its arms share a story of pain and self-inflicted misery,

Marks that ooze and spill and bubble at the lack of care given,

Its hands in their grotesque form that fumble and break all that they touch,

The worst offense to God and nature occurs at the shoulders,

Broad and thick, hunched over and desolate of any beauty,

Clothes barely fit upon the back of the beast,

Never able to hide the features well enough to rid it of the glares from others,

Its face, hideous, malformed, and aged by the years of self-hatred.

Crude fibers sprout from its face no matter how often a blade is taken to it,

Hair coated in grime falls scrappily and short,

Doomed to never feel the gentle blow of an Autumn breeze.

How does such an abomination live with itself knowing that its soul and body will never be one?

Writer’s Bio: Sylvia Bernhardt was raised in Annapolis, Maryland. She spent most of her childhood near the Chesapeake Bay. If she is not working on her upcoming novel then she is most likely serving tables. Sylvia is the proud owner of an 82’ VW Vanagon. She hopes one day it will run.

Photo by Sarah Leamy

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