Tanya Paperny

What to Call Her

after Oliver Baez Bendorf’s “Call Her Vincent”


sore from sleeping too much or not enough
stretching to be limber or pulling a muscle while fucking
breath slows when dreaming or sinking into a flashback
groceries for self care or wasted money
bike rides are mood enhancement are dying in the road
days off are seduction or feeling inadequate
family boundaries are growth or mounting guilt and avoidance
internet research & connection or porn, shame & FOMO

“sounds / the same whether born of ecstasy or darkness”
only the double-edged sword of the passage of time will tell

Oliver Baez Bendorf is a queer and trans poet, cartoonist, teacher, and librarian. He is the author of The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State University Press, 2015) and co-founder of the Mount Pleasant Poetry Project in DC.

Tanya Paperny is a writer, editor, and literary translator living in DC. The child of Soviet Jewish refugees, her poetry and nonfiction deal with the aftermath of atrocity. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, The Literary Review, Vice, and Pacific Standard.