From the Anthology 

Breaking the Silence

Visibly Trans on a Sunday Afternoon

by Dana Kiefer

When my friends and I meet

in the park in our own version

of Sunday Best, painting

ourselves into Seurat,

it is not just for quality time,

it is liberation – celebration.

We are telling the earth and the air

that we are our entire selves

and the world is better for it.

Did you know that there could be

12,000 of us in Greater Cleveland?

That’s enough for rallies,

that’s enough for parades,

that’s enough for community.

The only reason I look at other people’s

transition timelines is to see how the

brightness fills up their eyes more

and more in each photo,

despite everything that is thrown,

thrusted, fired at us.

Even when I look into my own tired eyes,

I can still see that same brightness

that was never there before I became

myself. It’s like I can see life

in full color for the first time.

Every queer picnic is its own victory,

worthy of being written down

in each of our personal history books.

The littlest things have become the boldest.

We intend to laugh, and eat,

and drink the dew off the cool, shaded grass.

It’s my hope that someone

who isn’t out yet will see us –

maybe it will be you.

And you will smile to yourself

and feel safe, if only for a second.

Trauma has never made me stronger,

But my friends have, every week,

and I need you to know that,

and I need you to see

that there is always an empty seat

at our table.

Author Bio

Dana Kiefer is a 27 year-old non-binary trans woman and poet who has lived in and around Cleveland her whole life. She studied poetry and English literature locally at Case Western Reserve University. She often thinks about the perplexing nature of identity. Her poems often tackle themes of mental health, the self, and queer life in a Rust Belt city.

Pre-pandemic, Dana could usually be found at The Side Quest trying new drinks, knitting, and performing at Let It Out. After the pandemic, she would like to visit all the best record shops and restaurants on the west side with her loved ones. Dana is extremely thankful for all her friends in the community who have built her confidence and kept her moving forward.