Genre Change

Genre Change
Lev Mirov

The storyline was set before I was born;
the Hayes Codes and other tragedy tropes–
being yourself is to become dead
young, beautiful, and damned to Hell.
Inhospitable Sodomy Acts had spelled out the story:
die for your love, or die from wanting
or die because someone else needs
to get what they want, and your life is worth less.
But I said

That is not the story
I will live to tell
with the years of my life
spinning out like tires
on black ice.
I live in a story with magic and mysteries;
the car swerved right
and we both lived.
I walked backwards over myself
to the moment of choosing
and decided I will not
be your tragedy.

The cobblestone wobbled beneath my foot
on a wet December day
between the Cabildo and the Moonwalk
and I decided, finally, what story I am living:
the unread pages of history unfurling–
this is a story where the magic is real
where gods speak, and walk abroad in the City
where ghosts nudge open the bedroom door
and ask if they should call for help.

Someday I will be forgotten
reconstructed in articles and essays
great meaning paid to
my religious affiliations and my family connections
scrutinized and hyperbolized
as to the meaning of my name, diagnosis, photographs.
The smiling, happy couple
is a story left untold and yet complete.

But all the scholars of queer narratives
will have answers
to why the dices came up sixes
every time, time, time, time
I needed a lucky winning streak:
I saved the rakish luck
of the unlikely love interest
to dwell inside
paranormal romances
where every ending
is a happiness beginning.

Lev Mirov is a queer disabled mixed race Filipino-American perpetual student who lives with his husband, fellow writer Aleksei Valentín, and their two cats in Maryland, where he plays the oud, researches trauma, and writes. His work has been nominated for the Rhysling and Otherwise awards among others, and his work can be found in Arsenika, New Myths, Strange Horizons,  Magazine, Eye to the Telescope, and the anthologies Sunvault and Mother of Invention, among other fine magazines and anthologies. To learn more about his work, find him at or by saying hello on twitter @thelionmachine.