Wesleyan University Press, 2001
About the Book:
This elegant and moving collection grew out of Hilda Raz's experience with her son's journey to a transgender identity. Born Sarah, now Aaron, Raz's child has had a profound impact on her understanding of what it means to be a family, to be whole, and to know oneself. The collection moves between past and present, allowing Raz to reflect on her own childhood, and on her experience with breast cancer to find ways to connect with Aaron. The journey takes us from intimacy to strangeness and back again, from denial to humor to grief and rage, but always laced with love and acceptance. “Trans” means across, through, over, to or on the other side, and beyond. The book documents some major transformations of body, self, society and spirit that art requires and life allows. The poems themselves are accessible and finely wrought. They are equally testaments to Raz's insistence on making an order out of chaos, of finding ways to create and understand and eventually accept new definitions of self and family. The physical and sensuous language of Raz's poems, and their humanity, keep them intimately bound to the world and to the senses.
Some Questions about the Storm
What's the bird ratio overhead?
Zero: zero. Maybe it's El Niño?
The storm, was it bad?
Here the worst ever. Every tree hurt.
Do you love trees?
Only the gingko, the fir, the birch.
Yours? Do you name your trees?
Who owns the trees? Who's talking
You presume a dialogue. Me and You.
Yes. Your fingers tap. I'm listening.
Will you answer? Why mention trees?
When the weather turned rain into ice, the leaves failed.
So what? Every year leaves fail. The cycle. Birth to death.
In the night the sound of cannon, and death everywhere.
What did you see?
Next morning, roots against the glass.
Who's talking now and in familiar language? Get real.
What's real is the broken crown. The trunk shattered.
Was that storm worse than others?
Yes and no. The wind's torque twisted open the tree's tibia.
Fool. You're talking about vegetables. Do you love the patio
tomato? The Christmas cactus?
Yes. And the magnolia on the roof, the felled crabapple, the topless