Photo of two big plastic bags, one blue and one pink, floating in a field of grass with trees and blue sky in the background.

‘ATTENTI AL CANE’ by Lucy Robin

Content warning: internalised homophobia and AFAB gender dysphoria. 

ATTENTI AL CANE (For Elena)
By Lucy Robin

Everything turns out different than they had said, like how I always feel like a child after rain, astounded
that the weather didn’t take us this time, something small in a world of bigness. There is still junk on
verandas: stools missing legs; garbage bags; the carcasses of boxed wine. There is an ATTENTI AL
CANE sign on a gate, then the same one a dozen houses later.

For a time, I was afraid of loss. Where do our past selves go, and so forth. There are many ways
to shed your skin, not all of them kind. I want to be one of those people who wears a t-shirt that says
SCHOOL OF LIFE CLASS OF ‘00. I want to do what Rilke said, to go to the limits of my longing.

The thing about a door is that you must pass through. The skeletons in my closet were posters of Hillary
Duff torn from the pages of Total Girl, eyes like marbles in the dark. What does it mean when you
are thirteen and you cry because you can press your breasts together and create a moat? When
you knock on your mother’s bedroom door, say I thought things were going to stay the same always.
Once, if you had asked me how I wanted to spend my life, I would have said fixing myself.

Photo of two big plastic bags, one blue and one pink, floating in a field of grass with trees and blue sky in the background.

About the author

Lucy Robin is a writer and bookseller living on stolen Boon Wurrung land. They write about motorcycles, ghosts, and post-punk rebellion. You can find more of her at @luce__unit on Instagram. 

Photo by Masha Kotliarenko on Unsplash.

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