My identity is the abandoned house
to tell frightening stories about.
I know which ones they believe.
My identity is a black joke on Father’s Day
a ghetto butterfly in the suburbs
a porn studio
is not a window
I stopped looking at
others in order to understand
I am a bearded woman
a mid life crisis
a body bag
a place to dispose all of my dead weight.
I am an unkept bedroom.
I know where everything is.
I am trying to be as fluid as word
I want my character to be
rearranged and made better.
I am a poet.
I write to make love to my existence.
I am an old folks home.
There are war stories in my make up.
Sometimes I grow tired of fighting.
I am an antediluvian breath who
can hardly hold themself in.
I spend so much time thinking about
I forget to thank ancestors who
drink heartache like wine.
I am twenty,
and I am trying to understand my place in
this world so I document the person
my sadness makes me.
When I believed I did not have a right
I stopped writing about what I
I wasn’t the person I wanted to be
so I evolved
became someone who wasn’t as
near as then.
I am unlearning all of the selves
who have been created for me.
I am trying to be my own god.
I don’t want someone else to take credit for saving me.
A self-described “gender fluid person,” Amethyst Dauphin was part of a slam poetry team preparing to represent Seattle at Brave New Voices, an international poetry festival. Dauphin aims to document the path taken to understand their gender, and reflects a deep regard for language rooted in the experience of growing up in a household where English, Spanish, French and Creole were spoken on a daily basis. Dauphin is a teaching artist, and has performed with Kwame Dawes, Rafael Casal and Buddy Wakefield, as well as Seattle-area musicians.