a short history of silvering

in the 1930s we 
switched from 
backing mirrors with 
silver to aluminum

this means the vampire went from 
having no reflection to seeing 
themself for the first time

after being told for centuries, they 
were what a vampire looks like, they 
were shocked to find
     they looked just like everyone else, 
     just with fangs

a stranger shouts vampire and 
everyone grabs a torch all it 
takes is a too-big smile all it 
takes is visible queer joy, a 
borrowed kiss in a back alley, 
licking a lover’s neck in a bar

vampires are known for loving the night, 
and of course we do,

in this dress, it’s 
always safest to avoid 
the streetlights

in the 1980s we 
stopped using 
silver for 
which means 
now a vampire 
can post a selfie 
to Instagram

a glitter-chested man 
holds his boyfriend’s 
hand walking into a cafe

a woman in a sunhat 
laughs with her girlfriend 
under a sassafras tree

six vampires sip sangria 
and read Sappho’s fragments

and no, this does not mean they 
have stopped hunting us, but it 
means we have chosen joy and 
taken a photograph to remember 
it, to share it

the vampire sees themself reflected
for the first time on Instagram and 

cannot stop smiling

a list of minor trans gods 
(after Owen Glendower)

the god of hair dye the god of lip gloss 
and clear nail polish
     and makeup wipes in Katrina’s glove compartment 
     before we go in her house
the god of clippers, razors,
     scissors, and kitchen shears
the god of everything we have lost
the god of hand-me-downs from family 
the god of hand-me-downs from friends 
yes, they are two different gods 
because one affirms the gender

the god of whiskey and wine and 
the god of glue and duct tape and the god of Ace 
bandages and plastic wrap are all the same 
god, they are the god of a self-violence they 
are the god of what we did to survive

the god of tucking and the god of binding 
are different gods, but they are each 
other’s favorite siblings

the god of violets and the 
god of yellowjackets
     and bees and hornets
the god of honey the god of 
vinegar the god of not being 
     or easy to swallow

the god of opossums 
and the god of possums 
are different gods 
but cis people still get them 
mixed up

the god of raccoons and the god of chipmunks and the god 
of squirrels and the god of all the love we have buried in 
this good earth

the god of names is one god because 
god can give a name and god can take it 
away to replace it with something more 

the god of a newly planted family 
the god of growth and leaves the 
god of bloom

the god of love and the 
god of love and the god 
of love and this is the 
holy trinity of all the 
different loves that have 
kept me alive.

About the author:

E.J. Schoenborn (they/them) is a white queer & nonbinary trans poet and puzzle designer from rural Wisconsin, though they currently live in Minneapolis, MN. Their poetry has been published by Button Poetry, Defunkt Magazine, Coffee People Zine, Voicemail Poems, the anthology from Moon Tide Press “Dark Ink: A Poetry Anthology Inspired By Horror,” and more. They have a love for florals, opossums, animated tv shows, and horror movies. Their chapbook The Eye Opens about gender, survival, and The Magnus Archives podcast is currently available for preorder from GingerBug Press.

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash