Ned Balbo

For My Cross-Dressing Friends

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
The Sonnet Issue

For My Cross-Dressing Friends

Jung knew: the anima resurfaces
in dreams that bear the shadow of the self
repressed; we summon up the succubus
we claim to dread, though we prefer the sylph,
we say, till we lie down. The clothes we wear—
these clumsy suits—cover our bodies’ flesh,
expendable disguises, all we are
both more and less, a truth or secret wish
we’ll share or act on one day…Mostly, not.

But can we disentangle from our core
those layers of impulse bound together, caught
(snarled, inseparable) before a mirror
that invites/indicts us—hopeful, drawn
to some new self we haven’t yet put on?


Ned Balbo's The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems (Story Line Press, 2010) received the Donald Justice Prize and the 2012 Poets' Prize. His previous books are Lives of the Sleepers, winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize and ForeWord Book of the Year Gold Medal (University of Notre Dame Press, 2005) and Galileo's Banquet, co-winner of the Towson University Prize (WWPH, 1998). Co-winner of the 2013 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, he currently teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.