Conditional by Gina Marie Bernard


She would

varnish triptychs of unstained love


her brush proves stiff as slattern’s mane;

she would

sculpt joy from each jeweled dawn


she not been ground—triturated clay;

she would

dance with the license of argent stars


she’s fractured—her cosmos, a brilliant pain;

she would

compose hymns to profess her honeyed faith


bleeding gums occlude clarion cries.

She would

teach this much to attendant full hearts:


she could deafen these echoes,

she would.

Gina Marie Bernard

Gina Marie Bernard is a heavily tattooed transgender woman, retired roller derby vixen, and full-time English teacher. She lives in Bemidji, Minnesota. She has work appearing in Not Very Quiet, Penultimate Peanut, Meow Meow Pow Pow, and Monkeybicycle. She has work forthcoming in Club Plum, Anti-Heroine Chic, x-r-a-y lit mag, and bluntly magazine. Her daughters, Maddie and Parker, share her heart. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and the Pushcart. She is pursuing an MFA at the University of Arkansas, Monticello. She can be reached on Twitter @vixen1724 or at her website

About this poem

Gina says Conditional is an attempt to convey her struggles with childhood trauma and the resulting mental illness she lives with as an adult.

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