Si/Re/No/ A Transgender Swimming


Un subtítulo aparece mientras nado:

Aquí se ve el cuerpo transgénero nadando.

Desde cuando que no he visto al mar,

tanto tiempo que me siento incomodo

en su presencia.

Somehow, coming out to the ocean (the interpersonal and geographical event) is different than coming out to family or friends. I’m swimming in a pool and this (woman’s) shape displaces water in a way (that makes no sense). Wouldn’t it be sweet if a shark came and bit off  these parts I have (ceased to want).

Le hago promesas de novio al mar:

algún día regresare con un pecho liso y firme.

Entraré a el océano sin camisa,

un hombre entre la olas sin tetas que desplacen el agua fuera de este ojo marino. Jamas (seré hombre.) Este cuerpo, tal como es,

esta hecho de papel

que se despedaza en la boca mojada del mar.


my salty,

do you still love me (if I am to become a man)?

Do you desire me, want me, need me, forgive me? Am I your dovefish? Your lovecruise?

Turning over in the serpentine water,

a warm thing,

fluid thing, it ripples around me,

transparent when wet,

then drying to white crystals on my skin.

Cerca, muy cerca,

unos hombres han subido su lancha a la playa.  Están limpiando tiburones muertos, c

ortándoles las aletas y las cabezas.

Si me quito la camisa los hombres van a ver

que no soy hombre. Pero si nado con camisa

no sabrás lo tanto que te quiero.

The men in the boats are men, aren’t they?

One is making a thing with his hands.

He is weaving slowly a beautiful net

for catching fish.

He is making lace to eat with.

“The sea belongs to Mexicans,” says the man who is my uncle without being my uncle.

Este momento en que estoy nadando es

un matrimonio arreglado, es el deseo de morir. Este momento en el agua, no tiene nada que ver con mi cuerpo, este

cuerpo cuya geometría rechaza el desplazo de agua en la forma de un sireno.

The men in the boats watch me while they cut and pile pieces of dead sharks. They pile them so high that the towers topple and create a land bridge from this beach to Japan, which eases the export of shark fins. But the sea belongs to those Mexicans not to this

(Mexican?) body.

This body doesn’t even belong to itself. The sea, meanwhile, (belongs to men). These men. And if/when I become a man, I ask not if you will belong to me, o sea, but, will I belong to men?

Cuando era niña soñé dos sirenos andróginos que se alineaban perfectamente, labio a labio, pecho a pecho. Esto sirve de comprobante que una vez fui lesbiana y que nunca he sido lesbiana. No lo soy (y es imposible que lo sea en el futuro.) (Incluso, jamas seré tu lesbiana y jamas lo fui.) También es posible que siempre seré lesbiana.

(My anatomy is a shark attack. It preys on people en route between Mexico and Japan.)

No soy mujer.

No, soy mujer.


Soy hombre.

Ahora. ¿Hoy? No.

No soy hombre.

Si soy hombre, soy sireno.

¿Sí o no?

Sí, lo soy.




A Transgender Swimming

As I swim, I caption my actions clinically:

Here we see a transgender swimming.

I haven’t seen the ocean in so long I feel awkward around it.

Mi confesión al mar es un momento

geográfico, geológico, interpersonal,

un suceso incomparable al mismo momento replicado con amigos y familiares.

Nadando en este ojo azul de agua salada,

este cuerpo (de mujer) desplaza el agua

(en maneras que no tienen sentido)

y tengo un deseo profundo: quisiera que un tiburón me quitara a mordidas estas partes de mi cuerpo (que he rechazado.)

To swim in saltwater is to make lover’s promises. Someday I will return with a

hard, flat chest, shirtless,

a man between swells withouts tits to

displace the water in tidal pools.

I will (never be a man).

This body is made of paper

and comes to pieces in the wet mouth of the sea.


mi amor sabor sal,

me amas (¿aunque me convirtiera en hombre?)

¿Me deseas, me anhelas, me perdonas?

¿Seré tu pez, tortolita?

¿Tu lancha de besos?

Volteándome bajo las aguas serpentinas,

cosa calorosa, cosa fluida, serás siempre

esa presencia transparente mientras mojada,

que queda seca en mi piel en forma de cristal.

Some men have pulled their boat onto shore nearby. They are cleaning dead sharks and cutting off their fins and heads. If I swim topless they will see me in this pool, so I cannot show my love in a gesture of swimming.

Los hombres en el barco,

¿son hombres, qué no?

Algo esta pasando entre

las manos de uno de ellos.

Esta tejiendo pausadamente

una hermosa red de pesca.

Esta tejiendo encaje con que comer.

“El mar le pertenece a los Mexicanos,”

dijo mi tío sin ser mi tío.

I go swimming like an arranged marriage.

I go swimming like a deathwish.

I go swimming like I am unrelated to this body. This body who’s geometry refuses to displace water in the shape of a merman.

Los hombres me miran mientras despedazan los cuerpos de los tiburones haciendo columnas de sus cuerpos sangrantes. Una de estas columnas se cae, formando un puente de carne entre Mexico y Japón, que facilita la exporta de mariscos. Este mar le pertenece a esos Mexicanos, no a este cuerpo


Este cuerpo ni se pertenece a si mismo, mientras el mar (le pertenece a hombres, estos hombres.) Si yo me convierto a hombre, mar mío,

no es que me pertenezcas a mi,

si no que yo le pertenezco a los hombres.

As a child I dreamt about androgynous merpeople aligning perfectly face to face so that their nipples would touch. This is clinical proof that I was once a lesbian and I have never been a lesbian. And I will not (and cannot) ever be a lesbian (or your lesbian) again. Also note that I may never stop (being a lesbian.)

I hear a wave crashing,

rolling, then pulling across the sand.

It’s sounds like it’s saying,









Migueltzinta C. Solís was raised in Mexico and California. He earned his B.A. from The Evergreen State College in interdisciplinary studies. Migueltzinta’s work has appeared in Midnight Breakfast, Lunch Ticket, PANK, and Apogee, and he is an alumnus of VONA/Voices. He is a graduate student in writing at UC San Diego, and also works in performance and textile art.

Migueltzinta on this translation: “The first draft of this poem was in both Spanish and English without any translation across the two languages. That draft lacked narrative strength so I wrote a second draft in Spanish and a third in English. I was going to set them side by side and be done, but when I did that they were just two separate poems with a thematic connection. By shuffling the paragraphs together I hoped to bring back that sense of lingual inter-dependence that existed in the original draft. There is also the reward, if you know both languages, of finding out that the poems do not fully, literally translate. The poem in Spanish ends in a completely different way than its English version. But even if you were bilingual you might still miss this because you had decided to read it only in one language.”