My Father’s Daughter | Ry Irene

I came out to my father in a text message
We were fighting about my hair
I told him I had to live in this body
So I was going to make this body my body
I told him I didn’t want to look like woman
Wasn’t called she anymore
And that I dated boys and girls and everyone outside and in between
He told me he knew
That “He may have fallen off a turnip truck but didn’t fall off yesterday.”
Told me he loved me

I have my father’s dimples
The first ID I got with short hair
I was so proud I looked like him

The first time he heard me introduce myself with my new name
It was two days before Easter
I wanted him to know his little girl was gone
Reborn something else
With his initials
He kept saying how he was so proud
Could not stop bragging
About his daughter
And all the things she is doing

I guess he misplaced my transition
Maybe it got lost in his rush to assurance
Maybe he forgot
Like I wish I could forget the epithets I heard him breathe about others
Over the years

I’ve almost lost my father twice
My gender hangs between us like cigarette smoke

I’m afraid if I stop holding it in it will choke us both
I can’t lose him but I’m starting to lose myself

I know my father loves his daughter
I just don’t know if he’ll like me

Ry Irene is a queer non-binary slam poet that calls Utah home, seven states later. Ze is a graduate of Westminster College and currently coaches the Westminster Slam team as well as regularly competes in the Salt City and Sugar Slams. Prior to coaching, ze was a member of the 2015 Salt City Slam Team, a member of the 2014 and 2015 Westminster College Union Poetry Slam teams. Ry Irene has also competed in Individual World Poetry Slam 2014 and Women of the World Poetry Slam 2016 as a storm poet and has a self-published chapbook “Keep Me Out Of Your Art, I’ll Keep You Out Of Mine.” Ry Irene is a Scorpio, enjoys long walks on the beach, bubble baths, and dismantling the patriarchy and gender norms.

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