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'Daddy Kisses' I will almost definitely change this title)

Kestrel McLoughlin

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Kestrel McLoughlin

A few disclaimers:



  • Trigger warning for dysphoria, and vague references to transphobic violence.
  • This is a draft, and I write out of order. There are large gaps here. This is the beginning of something.
  • Thanks all!


Daddy Kisses


My child once told me

he doesn’t like Daddy kisses anymore

I’m proud of him for speaking his boundary

Though when I found out it’s because “Daddy kisses are prickly”

That’s the moment I knew

I couldn’t bear hair across my cheek anymore

Not before,

Where I felt just hints, just envy

Something or other about always being soft


I only noticed how much I needed the hair off

When it hurt someone other than me.



Everywhere around me

People make statements with their bodies

of vitality and joie

Indomitability and light


In each environment

Are raptors vulturing and pack alphas pecking

Who think plumage are signals to them


Apprehensive and alien-feeling

I can’t show my fuzzy skin like others bare skin

But I can be bright for you

My skin can’t gleam like others’ can

But I can don glimmer



I’ve had to look up each term

To seek what feels right

It takes so long when there’s no one to ask

There’s a specific term for

a buttoned top flowing below the waist

A top that just says -expletive- it and keeps going to the ankles

For a top pretending to have buttons but wraps around instead

For pants so billowy they pretend to be a dress when you’re still

For a modern version of a wizard’s cloak for hot weather

For a fuzzy blanket you can wear to the orchestra and dinner parties and at work

These are just things that half of my community’s people just know about and wear



There seem to be eligibility criteria.

I’m scolded for expressions of brightness

By those who wear dinosaurs to work;

For showing hues not found in nature

Deep bright radioactive blues

And purples that look like raw energy harvested and hoarded by leaves

That placate onlookers with unwanted green the plants don’t care to keep

(Isn’t that the most beautiful fact?

All earthling life that photosynthesizes

Reflects back light in the green spectrum

Because it absorbs red and blue light and makes of it raw energy;

They reflect outward neutrality

While the energy within them is purple)


Most crucially

This is not a fashion statement

There is a unifying word

For so much I identify as Me

And yet those with completely different qualities

Have just as much a right to the word

Isn’t it a funny language

Isn’t it a funny world


I have precious few friends

Who illuminate the rooms they’re in

And those  

Whose light and warmth crosses a threshold

And ignites me like a pilot light sparked in a chamber already fuming


Considering the uncomfortable almost outraged laughter

Of those I’ve loved

As they notice sparks of my actual disposition and self

(Colour, dancing as transportation, communicating with clothes)

I begin to understand

How they became suspicious and disapproving

Of my truest friends:

When people love someone who they correctively reduce,

How invasive celebrators and enablers must feel to them.



There’s allegedly an eligibility outside my scope to be these things

I hate how comforting strangers’ silent approval feels

When I finally just become grey and black

In accord with their funny specific little rules

They arbitrarily called normal:

Long ago in England it was solemnized

That the only way a person with this body type

May be included in civil society is to wear a bizarrely long straight black scarf

And a jacket with a jaggedy lapel;

August or not

You will wear a boring scarf and a thick jacket.

When you comply your reward is comfortable invisibility

In this context it is hazardous to be distinguishable from non-existence;

The slightest divergence from this rubric,

Is at best equivalent

to well-seasoned flatulence

or bad 90s grunge in earphones that might as well be speakers

Or at its worst is hazardous.  Existentially hazardous.


That first morning my child and I

Slowly removed inch by inch of hair

The consistency of a shoe brush

Experimentally kissing the remainder each time

Until we were equally lovely to the touch


He is still allowed to be soft

And bright

For another few years

I wonder

In his second decade

Will he require bravery

And will we be equipped to give him somewhere he doesn’t need to be brave



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