Levi Todd

If I Were Born A Daughter, My Parents Would Have Named Me Audrey



If the theoretical physicists (those secret poets)

are onto something, then what is true


is that there exist infinite universes floating like bubbles

where everything that can happen, is happening.


In this universe, I catch my reflection in the tinted lens

of a stranger’s glasses and will my features to soften


like a popsicle’s hard edges in the heat. Elsewhere

in the privacy of another bubble, I am dropping a yellow sundress


from its rigid hanger. I wrap it around my skin

the way I wrap gifts. In this another universe


that carries my another me, she sees a treasured friend

and pulls her close to say hello, the both of them glinting brilliantly


in another sun’s another eye. Imagine

another intimacy. Another ginkgo tree. Another hymn


to sing. The secret poets say we are constantly

bumping into other bubbles, with the faintest possibility


of merging. What hope there is in physics. I reach

my hand through the oily glimmer window


and pull the next one close. It never pops, because I’m gentle.

When I get near enough I can see right in, and like a body


into a sundress, I slip through

and into.

Dear Reader,



there has been a moment

where I   looked   my own mother

in the eyes       and momentarily               forgot

her          own name. I am      profoundly ashamed.

It seems                  I am always losing

memories             like tumbled keepsakes

off the    back of an over    stocked moving     truck.

Sometimes, I can grab it              before it’s gone, recall

what you    wore the        night

of the super blood            moon, the intersection

where you     pulled glass   out      of my bicycle  tire.      Reader,

do you       remember?         Mostly, I   reconcile

with what           I don’t even   know      I’ve lost.

My brain, an etch-a -sketch

on a fault             line. A secret

sand message too                           close

to the tide.           As          aid, I    depend

on the word         of my friends. You       say

we ate twizzlers                 in a park at midnight? Tell me

again, love.      We’ve met             before? I believe

you. Forever       the optimist, I     find

some small relief in        this        : don’t worry,

you can etch     some uncertain   sadness or spectacle

into       me and it  won’t               be long

before it’s             lost.                                                 —Oh, dear reader,

I’ve told you      this story        already?  How


many times?


LEVI TODD is a queer poet and lifelong Chicagoan. He serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal and his work is published in Cotton Xenomorph, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, thread, and The Broken Plate. He tweets at @levicitodd, where he’d love to hear your favorite Carly Rae Jepsen song. (Photo credit: Hannah Schneider)