Spark Joy

By Danny McLaren

Do you ever wonder if your gender sparks joy?

If it fits you like a glove, if you love the way the words sound in your mouth or leave your lips,

How it feels to say ‘they’ with your own tongue

And know better than anyone else how to say your own name?

Does your gender excite you?

Does it hum in your veins, electric, ignited,

Keep you up at night, tossing from panicked to delighted, thinking

what if I’m a boy?

or what if I’m nothing at all?

But ‘nothing’ seems scary.

My gender isn’t scary.

Sure, it’s loud, and it’s big,

It takes up too many seats on the bus, makes the up-tight man on the left of me scoot over one.

But it’s dynamic, and powerful, and strong.

It repels close-minded like a magnet,

And pulls kind and ‘knowledgeable about feminist theory’ my way.

It’s ‘too many beers on a Saturday night’ euphoric,

It spills across my clothes when I’m not careful,

Or, on some days, when I try really hard to make it seen.

My gender beats in my chest when I run,

or while I wrestle into my binder.

Constricting my chest with freedom, just to look a little more me.

My gender kisses me goodnight, and greets me with the sunrise,

And marks up my skin with ‘I love you.’

Do you ever wonder if your gender sparks joy?

If you feel ‘just right’ with the words you choose to use

To tell others who you are?

Maybe you should

Because it feels damn good.

About the Author


Danny is a queer, trans and non-binary writer who uses they/them pronouns. They are an undergraduate student working towards their degree in gender studies, and beginning to work with queer, anti-racist, and anti-colonial theory. They have an interest in exploring themes related to equity, resistance, and survival in their work, and often write about their gender, sexuality, and mental health incorporating these themes. Their work has appeared in Memoir Mixtapes, ENBY Magazine, and GlitterShip Podcast and Anthology. They currently have a micro-chap with Post Ghost Press titled Sorry It’s Not better News, and are a 2019 Editor’s Pick poet in the Brain Mill Press National Poetry Month Contest. They can be found on twitter at @dannymclrn.