House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.

GREEN BAY / NORTHEAST

Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

The First Time I Enter a Ladies Restroom with My Transgender Daughter

When you were three and potty training
I looked cautiously down the hallway, both ways,
knocked on the door to the men’s room,
“Anyone in here?” You were holding your crotch,
“Hafta to go, momma, go bad!”
I cautiously opened the door, took your hand
stepped inside, helped you up on the potty.
As a mother of two boys, I got stern looks
from other women in the ladies room when I took you
and your brother to go pee.

I’d never been in a men’s room before.
Urinal against the wall, a small white cake
down in the porcelain, only one stall with a door,
it was stainless and white no pink floral wallpaper,
no pink metal stall doors.
If felt awkward, and you, so proud to go on your own,
but still needed help, right there in the men’s room.

Thirty years later, you are more than a year into your transition
from man to woman. You are tall, with long curly hair
almost touching your shoulders, a hint of blush on high cheek bones
pink lips, a tasteful necklace graces your collarbones.
You don’t think twice when we get up from our bistro lunch,
both of us head to the ladies room.


I wonder if you feel tentative like I did going into the men’s room,
but you look as though you’ve always belonged here,
I scan the room to see if other women are looking at you --
looking at us. Surely, someone will catch on.
But they don’t. Ladies keep fixing their hair.
Check their teeth for lipstick.
Fumble for lip gloss in their purses.
We wash and dry our hands, fluff our hair,
reach for the door and
I re-enter the world with my daughter.

 

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