Colette Arrand

Recurring Dream of Self as Daryl Hannah

Cast differently, I am trapped
in someone else’s bathtub.
A man changes the water daily
and says this is my home,
that women who leave
home might die, choking
on waterless air. He says I can
have anything I want. He feeds
me Doritos by hand. He asks
if I am happy. I steep, filthy
with myself; a secret kept,
actually kept. I saw a model
disparage the narrative of women
trapped in male bodies. She was
right to do so, maybe, but late
as models often are. I wrote
once about how metaphor
fails to capture experience,
but I am writing about myself
now as a mermaid or a woman
trapped in a man’s bathtub,
as an actress swimming
in a tank while her co-stars
drop French fries into the water
the way a child might
for a pitied animal at the zoo.
Eventually, an assistant will
remove Ms. Hannah’s fin.
Eventually, I will dream
of myself as another actress trapped
in a film about the desires
of others. No dream of mine
is a metaphor: A mermaid is
no more secretly a woman
than she secretly devours men.


I feel like I’m between
planets, the heroine
of a science fiction novel
where a woman slips
orbit and forgets how
to be human. I wanted
to read stories like this
as a child, but women
didn’t exist in fiction
as women. They existed
as breasts, as orifices,
as scientists too stupid
to science. It’s bullshit,
how women are treated
like monsters in life and like
victims in monster films. How
we’re denied the horrible
beauty of a werewolf’s
transformation sequence:
the moon and wolfsbane
belong to women. Once,
I wrote a poem about a man
who became a centipede.
I was trying to think
of the kind of monster
I didn’t want to encounter
in my bathroom, but I loved
him the way outcasts
love movie monsters.
I wanted him to be happy
but didn’t know how. I made
him leave town. I made him
burrow to the center of something
soft and warm. He waited
years while his body
fucked around, then emerged
completely new. He wanted to feel
the world on his many hands.
He dipped one into a bag of grain,
then another and another and another

Colette Arrand is a transsexual poet from Detroit, Michigan. She is the founding editor of The Wanderer and the author of Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon (OPO Books & Objects, 2017). She is on twitter, @colettearrand.