National Poetry Month: Two Poems by Peter Burke

Freshly Poured


When past depresses and future frightens,

when news is bad and weather dreary,

morning coffee, fresh from pot,

makes my life feel good and cheery.


~ Peter Burke

Beyond Gender


At a poetry celebration

I spy a slender youth.

Reserved, watchful,

black vest, white shirt,


bright eyes, pale skin,

hair like fine fur.

He or she? I cannot say.

I choose a name – Morgan.


Morgan stands and speaks.

“I am a trans man.

Now you know why

I changed my pronouns.”


As a girl, she grieved.

“I can’t stand these things on my chest.”

So she gave up

ovaries and breasts.


No longer a daddy’s girl, he seeks

to become a man.

“Daddy, teach me to shave.”

“Morgan, you have no whiskers.”


So confusing – we straights,

male, female alike,

struggle to fit roles

already known.


Where are roles for trans?

Morgan is teaching me to look

beyond roles, beyond gender

to person.


~Peter Burke