Tyler Raso

self-portrait as fagus sylvatica pendula [nonbinary]

in my bathroom with
my razor at my cheek

all the thin limbs of
my beard teething down

the drain, my face hiding
beneath my face, weeping

itself naked. in the dream
where my father finally

teaches me to shave,
the door is open like

broken sunlight, flowers
squinting beneath

my eyelids. in the dream,
nobody bleeds. in the

dream, the mirror is a portal
made of skin and light,

behind which a world
dreams itself new like

a scab. in that world
my body full of honey,

my body full of feathers,
my body full of all the bodies

it dreams itself as. my real hands
softening at my neck

like roots. my real mirror
trusting my real face, the

gravity trusting the razor,
the light trusting the light.




You’re not sure what you’re made of. When the stone blue and blue
with veins like yours showed up on the playground, you
took it because loneliness, like blood, better on the inside.
The stone in your pocket, the stone in your pocket making
a blue map in your pocket, your fingers reaching again
for the stone when your body wanted to go somewhere
your body couldn’t go, in that private dark your hands
worrying a second life onto the stone, the blues warming

to greens like day. And the boy your body asked
questions about, asked What season is it on his hands? or
Can he lift me like a secret on his shoulders? about,
how you gave him the stone, his nostrils flaring like
whispers, how you were small as sugar, he said What
do I do with this? Not that you loved the boy, but this moment
running bruisewarm and blue in your mind like a galaxy. Not that you
loved the boy, your teeth hardening into answers.



Tyler Raso (they/them) is a poet, essayist, and teacher. Their work is featured or forthcoming in POETRY, Black Warrior Review, Split Lip Magazine, Foglifter Journal, Salt Hill Journal, The Journal, and elsewhere. They are the author of the chapbook In my dreams/I love like an idea, winner of the 2022 Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest. They currently write, teach, and study in Bloomington, IN, tweeting @spaghettiutopia and websiting at tylerraso.com