The Fox in Me by Cara Feral

Gender Dysphoria, there I finally said it
It’s cruel mythological paradox between my soul and body
Like Laelaps the hound that always caught its prey
and the cunning, Canis Minor that she never caught

I tried to escape it, drink, and ignore it away
I stashed it for years underneath my childhood psychosis
Next to my box of tattered bird feathers, acrophobia, and fear of clowns
I even tried hiking it 10,000 miles away from me

On the good days, it’s delicately courageous
Refulgent and vulnerable like a three-legged fox
Defiantly limping away from the hunter’s snare in the crooked dawn

At its worst is the smothering desperation of not being taken seriously
Stuck in a perpetual tug-of-war between awkwardness and my femininity
Spirit fettered inside an anomalous corporeal manifestation
Like my blood and the sound of my wings dragging on the floor

I love wearing things not built to be dirty and covered in grease
Things like perfume, makeup, bells, jewelry, ribbons, and tiaras
Adorned and crowned with the ability to melt hearts
Like my first true love and my mother’s plaintive voice

Growing up, my father hated me playing with Star wars dolls
and writing poetry and baking cookies in the kitchen with my mom
“No son of mine will ever be a sissy girl,” he often warned me

He tried showing me how to change the oil in his shitty, 1988 Ford Taurus
And explaining the intricacies of a shotgun offensive formation in football
But I was thinking about Princess Leia’s white dress and her hair buns

I remember my father’s funeral and all the sadness stuffed in people’s faces
and the fox in me thinking that losing a leg isn’t so bad if it meant being free

Photo by AdamLowly on

About the Poet:

Cara Feral is from the high plains of Laramie, Wyoming. She earned a physics degree in Kutztown University. She later dropped out of a full ride scholarship to study astrophysics at Louisiana State University to go hike the Appalachian Trail.Since then she has “thru” hiked The Appalachian Trail two times, the 2600 mile long Pacific Crest Trail and the 3300 mile long Continental Divide Trail. Eventually she wants to be the first trans woman to complete the quadruple crown by hiking the 4600 mile North Country Trail. These days she quarantines inside the cozy confines of her apartment with her cat and boyfriend in Eugene, Oregon. 

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