(in memoriam, Ursula K. LeGuin, 1929-2018)
In kemmer, Gethenians become what is needed,
male or female, never
just the one forever, a limitation they think perverted.
Poor Genly, Terran
ambassador, stuck in his one sex. He tries,
but can only ever be
in heat, in the way of a caged ape, tugging
at his sprung cock
behind shatterproof glass. To mother one child
and father the next—Genly
must learn what this means for a world,
for the far-flung Ekumen.
If we are not (just) our sex, what are we, and how?
Back on Earth, engendered,
I followed closely, page after page.
I wanted to know.
In Memoriam: The Radical Imagination of Ursula K. Le Guin [The Stranger]
Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems have appeared here as well as in The New Verse News, Rattle, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.