Robin Gow

Ode to Drag Queen Jesus

This is how I learned femininity is always a form of sacrifice.
Or else maybe it is a way of ending. I am always tearing out
the last pages of books. Sneaking out on a Sunday to worship.
In the church of Drag Queen Jesus, we wear pleasers.
We close our eyes and let touch guide us through a series
of mouths. Stigmata opens like tulip buds beneath the skin.
When I discovered her I thought, “Finally something I can believe
so much to changes me.” Transformation is a series of rituals.
Hormones in the water are making us angels. I met a lover there
just to see them dissolve into ribbon. I’m the altar boy
on the ragged moon. She is the savior of fuchsia. Purses her lips.
Elbow-length black gloves. O Drag Queen Jesus, let me be naked.
Let me be decorative. Make me mannequin or at least a doll.



Neighbor Poppets

I make them all look out their windows and wave. I wave back.
The sprinklers spit watermelon juice and wasp swarm, drunk on sugar.
Every day I make another neighbor from corn husks and beetle bones and breath.
They dance all on their own. Throw a party and don’t invite me.
A satellite dish blooms like bind weed. Antlers grow, branching
in the front lawn. Soon it will be deer season and no one
will be able to leave their houses. I sometimes steal a neighbor.
Put them in the basement alone with me where I confess
I am trying to discover whose poppet I am. What clothe
was I sewn from? What feathers fill my chest?
The neighbor covers their face and runs away. I told myself
I didn’t want to be feared but now I am and it is delightful.
They close their blinds. Winter comes with jars of tongues.



Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of several poetry books, an essay collection, and a YA novel in verse, A Million Quiet Revolutions (FSG Books for Young Readers, 2022). Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, Southampton Review, and Yemassee.