Ann Keiffer


One evening years ago…

Roxanne showed up for our women’s
group for the second and last time.
Tattooed, dangling earrings, hair
thinning and dyed blue-black. Black
skirt, white blouse, dainty kitten-heel
shoes in a large size. Roxanne, sitting
with legs crossed, hands cupped loosely
one-inside-the-other in her lap. A tall
person, shy in her self-consciousness.
That evening, to get discussion going:
an artist’s deck of cards. Each woman
would draw one card at random from
the deck and talk about how the image
and word on that card spoke to her life.
When it was Roxanne’s turn, she turned
up her card: Warrior. Roxanne jerked
back as if she’d been slapped, crumpled
back in her chair, covered her face with
her hands and began to cry. “No matter
what I do,” she said, “I can never get
away from it.” Get away from being born
a male, she meant. By then, we all saw
Roxanne both was and was not Roxanne.
This many-times-homeless Viet Nam vet
without funds for hormones, surgery or
therapy was only truly Roxanne soulfully.
Of late, reading all the legal wrangling
over bathrooms, I think of Roxanne. I
know I would be safer with Roxanne in the
women’s restroom than she would ever be
in a restroom with a sign that said “Men.”

Ann Keiffer
May, 2016

Image Source: Uploaded by user via Butterfly Workshops on Pinterest


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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