Sharon Olds

Outside the Operating Room
of the Sex-Change Doctor

            Outside the operating room of the sex-change doctor, a tray 
of penises. 
           There is no blood. This is not Vietnam, Chile, Buchenwald. 
They were surgically removed under anesthetic. They lie there 
neatly, each with a small space around it. 
           The anesthetic is wearing off now. The chopped-off sexes lie
on the silver tray. 
           One says I am a weapon thrown down. Let there be no more 
           Another says I am a thumb lost in the threshing machine. 
Bright straw fills the air. I will never have to work again.
           The third says I am a caul removed from his eyes. Now he 
can see.
            The fourth says I want to be painted by Gericault, a still life 
with a bust of Apollo, a drape of purple velvet, and a vine of ivy 
            The fifth says I was a dirty little dog, I knew he’d have me 
put to sleep.
            The sixth says I am safe. Now no one can hurt me. 
           Only one is unhappy. He lies there weeping in terrible grief, 
crying out Father, Father!

spoken = Ayelet Firstenberg