Poems by Ellen Catherine Scherer












Dear reader:

You’ve been asking me what is this “XYZ”

when you should have learned the alphabet when you were 2

when all you needed to know was that her name was Shannon

and you thought her sparkly purple sandals were pretty.


You liked her

and it didn’t matter she was different from the other girls you used to like.

It didn’t matter

because you were not her and she was not you.


The year is 2017-

and it’s still possible to be “too much” of yourself.

I’m not talking about arrogance.

It’s time for some honesty,


and honestly?

I love women and I love men, too-

especially the gentle ones.


I’m sorry you’ve fallen victim.


You’ve heard too much about your friend Shannon,

whose legal name was still Shawn

until 22 years of persistent protest

transformed to progress.


I’m sorry

you heard she had the shit kicked out of her in 6th period shop class.

I’m sorry

you saw her fuchsia nails resting so out of place on callused fingertips.


I’m sorry

that you had to forget that she used to be called he

and that you have been best friends

all this time with you none the wiser.


I’m sorry you had to endure all of that.





four sets of angsty hands let loose-

only started by clinging to mommy and daddy’s

liquor bottles    age 14.


too young to purchase whiskey

but old enough to discover how it tastes

on puckered lips, dimpled cheeks

& the tiny one’s nipples.


what better to do than stow away

in her basement while above,

her irish-catholic parents watched cnn.

split a freezer-burned fish fry & munched mindlessly

over the premature gasps that leaked from downstairs


four sets of anxious hands let loose-

tied around each other in a technicolor wrestling match

as the vodka depleted. the tiny one watched     too hopeful

while the others entwined their string bean thighs & bony elbows.

she brushed another girl’s shoulder with cranberry stained lips

held her there. hummed a silent tune for her.



On Wednesday, December 13, a launch party event will be held at Mohawk Place for a new book published by BlazeVOX Books  featuring some of Buffalo’s top poets. The 7pm event will showcase a number of live readings from poets that were selected to appear in the publication.

Featuring readings by:


Musical performances by:

Shane Meyer 

Laube’s Old Spain