Poetry: The Wound in Drag by Tallon Kennedy

“The Wound in Drag” is a manifesto of youth—troubled, hopeful, full of phones and wounds and love. Tallon Kennedy cascades their self—wounded, aching—across the four parts, landing finally, perhaps precariously, on the dance floor.


The Wound in Drag


A confession:
the only time I don’t feel the need to be on my phone
is when I’m on acid.

Something about impermanence: how I could live in Oregon
within half a year
and no one is trying to stop me.

The world changes so quickly, I can see it
through a screen, the words school shooting
throbbing beneath my thumb.

I bite into an apple
and juice runs down my thumb, cuts
across the boneless space.

I can press down so hard and feel no pain.
I can press my feet into the floor and never sink.

Twenty-one and I’ve learned this much:
I will search for pleasure
in the flame’s heat, charry throat,

shotgun of a lover’s car, open window,
anything that tries to kill me.





He’s gone three days     and full of absence
the body finds      dishes filled to the brim
with gray water     Mansfield Park read slowly
between scrolling     scrolling down the light
the blue pulse of     pressing like pressing love
pressing into message   into post make love
through pressing     skin to screen cell to cell
finds trash finds     pill after pill   flame shooting
down into bowl     charred pot burns like paste
Fanny Price     oh, girl       oh, sweet girl
sometimes I wish I lived in your world
I could see myself     a woman made darling of the ball
and haven’t I dreamed of it since I was
a little boy?     And haven’t I dreamed?

and then I feel the pain you choke down
They were decided   He would marry Miss Crawford     It was a stab
and haven’t I felt the same stab?

You’re gone two centuries         and full of absence
the body finds         we’re not so different

Miss Price.





Darling of the dance floor. She’s so tired. Oh, Wound, darling,

you can make it through the night, with a bottle of wine

open on the counter, your feet kicking the dust

off your apartment floor, your hands will find your own body,

and this time, you will be sweet to it, no more knives,

no more bone, no more limping to the silence of sleep,

oh, Wound, speak to me girl, tell me the snowed-in night

has never felt warmer, tell me the ceiling fan can pass

for a chandelier, tell me you love me tell me you love me,

and twirl and twirl through my body

until we find some carpet soft enough

to trap the aftermath of our passion, Wound, darling

we’ve known each other long enough,


why haven’t we thought of making us

in the absence of him?





The Wound never heals.

She straps on heels.
She finds a new tie. She struts
on stage

and twirls
to the beat of vertigo.

The lights go out.
No one’s watching anymore.

The room is quiet,
but in the dark, there she is,





Tallon Kennedy

Tallon Kennedy is a poet from Columbus, Ohio who is teaching writing and pursuing their Masters in Literature at Oregon State University with a focus on gender representations in the Victorian Era. Their poem “Eclipse Hangover / One Month Later,” published by The Mantle in 2017, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Their other works have been published by Rust + Moth, Philosophical Idiot, and Lit.cat. Currently, they are working on revising the manuscript of what they hope will become their debut full-length collection, currently titled Wound in Drag after the poem published by Frontier.

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