[from ‘winter: fish (swallows)’]

like a small creature take me out of myself
i will ask it of you, a
bruised hangnail a laboring                    moody
i[a moody creature]will drive
                            you back and forth out of yourself

              if you want                       in the morning
                                                         \you can ask me your dreams ;

i will
              lower myself into myself
              a highway with a single car in it,              i will take
long drives at night on a whim with the wind
                                          pick up a book and let it fall open
                             arrest a wonder, a //desire
              will hitch myself up          taste a calyx                your angled sweat                  your honey
                         [forehead or on the small of your back]

do you disenchant yourself also           ? as you wander from

            do you ache at the wandering or at the damp

                         and if you leave me                         a pair of orchids behind
                                      i am tough, i can take it.
it is a slow spider in me
              with big legs and a purple body, spot colors       of the clouds setting

                                           of the shape of the clouds existing as both one +the other

                          i will get good at getting up
                          if that is what you need ,                i have already
                                                     picked the fishbones from my teeth

              i will get good at binding myself,          at the clouds going green

at looking in the mirror bearing witness

¹ selfportait on a highway, selfportait w/out self


                                                           [from ‘interlude’]

so drives across the country all alone they                    thinks a lot more about gender than anything else

like else there are always those eyes
                            ]u know the eyes

              eyes look eyes    trying to make out from curves i am trying to hide what
                                                                                        eyes look when i am, eyes carry more heat
                                                                       sweatsoak everything slowly drip off

                             i’d go in a bathroomLADIES in d.c. wearing a binder and
                                                         eyes sideways sideways eyes
                             i’d go in a stall + squeeze myself out

                                                                                       i’d exit and feel like an entranceTITS

in new cities i just let myself be erased
to maybe apologize for existence , as self

+ in situ MISS knoxville, tn: 1-minute miss for $3 best fried chicken drive-thru i’ve ever had miss drove thru 
too afraid to get out looking half a boy

                                                                                                                with my house on my chest going home
                                                                                                 o i am settling into that inner they
                                                                                                                             that ‘when i was all alone’

                                                                                 that they as movement forward

                                                                  that gendered bathroom again                :hard eyes soft eyes
                                                                                 double-take cigarette boy double-take cigarette girl
                                                                                 not be part of it anymore
                                                                                                being the only constant
                                    getting used to kid they for the long haul

                     this purple bloomy stain who can’t do anything for herself
                                                 not being part of a chore                               being in my chest

                                                                                           make a gerund out of body

                                  how to slide off the highway + wash my hands of myself,
                                                                                           how no one else even knows where i am
    how no one knows the movement of my body                   see there is freedom in this thing

                                                               how to do it when i felt it in situ in who knows where
                                              i am but it looks like oklahoma or virginia

in nashville at the top of kissing hill + kiss the cactus falling down there,
           didn’t take a picture to send to mom there,

                                       tulsa got me drunk + i kept looking          tulsa looking eyes looking
                         down at myself looking at the eyes in the mirror
                                                      in tulsa looking at the fireflies                   climbed looking up kissing hill
                                                                     looked back at brittle snow + kissing under
                                                                                   wash myself + pray + wash myself + drive again
                                                                     be louder than it stretched in front of me

                         the rain stop + u don’t see another car in hours

           lonely kid pee off the side of highway 412 stretches ways out towards nowhere
                                                                     stretches forever out towards nowhere

                                                                                   lonely kid hold the wheel      , squat +arrive at gender
                                                                                                 moving towards it lonely kid

                                                       move towards


maia vlcek (theythem; gemini sun, virgo moon, gemini rising) is a chronically ill trans griefpoet from western massachusetts. their poetry takes many forms and they work in many mediums, including photography, letterpress + printmaking, sculpture, sound, + bookmaking. they are especially interested in the selfportait and in ways of seeing the self. (you can find the music they make as ‘alls’ at or on twitter @allsupscowboy.) they spend most of their time driving or in motion, for now between santa fe, nm + oakland, ca. maia briefly attended st. john’s college in santa fe + more recently earned a BA in literature from mills college after writing a love letter to melville’s moby-dick; or, the whale. their work has been published in sage persing’s how to wait: an anthology of transition and exhibited at the growlery in san francisco. often they are picking their skin or translating sappho. they are trying to figure out how movement forward relates to gas stations and also transness and also loss and also desire. there are a lot of words moving around inside them. sometimes the words look like fish, sometimes like eggs.


this thing is a tender work of poetry and grieftheory. it grew out of cavernous loss, upheaval, and encounters. its purpose is to write from the inside of grief instead of about it or around it. this has required some movement of self, of language, + of body. (fortunately, grief requires some movement of these things also.) in the middle of loss language collapses. what is left is stutterings, symbols, motion. what is left is what the body remembers and the places in it where loss lives. punctuation stumbles. the body is a home for collapse, and in collapse there is motion. holding it still will make it into another thing. it is at home in the act of collapse (which is the act of encounter).

there are four seasons to this thing (winter, spring, summer, and fall), and two main voices (the fish and the egg). there are four verbs (swallowing, getting born, driving, and picking), a few selfportaits, bits of sappho (as translated thru a dirty window), and enough of motion sickness.

in motion there is transness. this body is a vehicle for transness; later, driving in the vehicle, the body moves forward. (that is, ‘transience,’ ‘transcendence,’ ‘transportation,’ ‘translate.’) it is hard to see the body even when looking closely. none of this can be linear. the vehicle is a vehicle for transness: the body is a vehicle for grief, and waits until grief opens it up and moves it forward. this thing is: while driving, considering the loss of what loves, considering its return and the subsequent time, passes; transition, considering falling down the stairs and receiving a bruise at the bottom.