Spring/Summer 2021 Issue – Identity

Stars, Pineapples and Coffee Shops

Irene Tsitlenko

When asked about my gender,

I used to respond with

“Oh, I’m a girl!” 

But I never truly felt like I fit in that category.

I felt more like a puzzle piece

Desperately trying to fit

Into a space where I didn’t belong.

My gender is a strange thing.

It can feel like ten pineapples stacked in a trench coat

All on the verge of toppling over 

But somehow staying afloat.

It can also feel like stars;

All kinds of them. 

Shooting stars,

New stars,

Old stars,

Stars that shine so brightly that you can see them no matter where you are;

Stars that are just barely visible but still give off a comforting glow.

It’s nice describing it that way because there are so many of them, you know?

My gender is a coffee shop: 

Peaceful in the evening, 

Chaotic in the morning,

Somewhere in-between during the afternoon.

My gender is a complicated thing.

It used to be a wrongly placed puzzle piece;

Squished, not comfortable,

And definitely in the wrong place.

Now, it is chaotic and unpredictable.

But you know what?

This puzzle piece finally fits

And my gender is finally something that I can fully embrace.

Christine Yuan