Kristina Byrne

Two Poems

Volume 17:2, Spring 2016

Yellow Rose

Yesterday a pretty girl held my hand on the train
She giggled
And whispered that people probably thought
we were lovers

I smiled
Because she was making love
Inside me

Like fire lilies awakening from winter’s slumber
To roar beautiful at the world

Like orchid bees, pollen-drunk
In the dance of making life

Like embers catching fresh kindling
Crackling comfort into an abyss of stars

My palm drank love
Like warm milk and honey
From her lifeline touching mine

Like a giggle’s joy in a child’s eyes

Like a thunderstorm raindrop’s path
In the desert sand

Like Siddhartha’s river vision had a hint
Nestled in her hand



The concave beneath my ribcage
where i gave up my voice
My prominent collar bone
and the Corners of my protruding hips
Men have always liked the places where
i am empty

She told me i need a relationship
with more queer in it
Driving through the south
we talked about the path that led us here
She, a rose
Delicate beautiful and thorny
Bright ponytail and big smile
Surrounded by stubble
we talked about gender presentation
and queer
the path to finding home in our bodies
She doesn’t use public restrooms in the south
The threat of violence is real.
this country is still thick with preemptive strike
as if our collective consciousness
wants to crush what we can’t understand
before it changes us
What would it look like for these united states
to accept my friend as human?
to break expectations instead of bones?

I consider my privilege as i go inside to pee
My presentation doesn’t make people too uncomfortable
doesn’t warrant violence
Only disapproval
the way most people think I am just one solid makeover away
From realizing what woman is supposed to look like

I learned young
woman is considered less than man
so stubborn little girl grew up boy
I never wanted to be a man
just as good as one

She told me I need a relationship
with more queer in it
And she is right
I have a history of trying to fit into square holes
When I be round peg

Sometimes when everyone tells you you are wrong
you start to believe it

Even lesbians
can fall into dichotomy traps
All butch or femme
I don’t fit into one of these boxes
All boxers and Victoria Secret
All power tools and vulnerable

All adult sized with the wonder of a child
I want to find someone to just be human with me
to hold my hand on the swingset on a monsoon evening
run with me barefoot through the forest
make love with me under a full moon,
Because adventure is an attitude
I’m not going to outgrow

And I’m not going to stop growing
I want to find someone who is whole enough
to not need my empty spaces

I want to find someone
who can handle me being whole
who can walk with me getting closer to god,
even if that means something different to each of us
Someone to be with me
Imperfect and beautiful



Kristina Byrne is a DC area native, and the managing editor of Words Beats & Life: The Global Journal of Hip Hop Culture. Her poems have appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Mad Swirl, and her self published Love Notes to the World from a Recovering Cynic; they have also documented collective learning experiences in Strategic Leadership toward Sustainability, Authentic Leadership in Action, Mycelium Learning Journey, Wiser Together World Cafe at the Bioneers conference, and the Ella Pearson Mitchell preaching conference. She lives in Washington, DC.