“Somewhere Between Male and Female”

Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 9:24 am
Joy Ladin plays with her youngest daughter at a playground in Amherst, Massachusetts.

“Somewhere Between Male and Female”

Somewhere between male and female
The soul gets lost
Where are you calls the mother of the soul
But the soul never had a mother

Get back here this instant the father demands
But somewhere between male and female
The soul failed to be fathered

Male and female
Split at the seams
Leaving the soul naked

Criss-crossed with scars
Male scars and female scars
Breast scars and testicle scars

Scars like doors
And scars like fingers
Fingers point at the naked soul

Doors slam in its face
The soul is still alone

It is is only dreaming
It’s been discovered
In the space between male and female

Where no one will ever find it


For those who prefer the silence of one voice, here is a version without music.

Reprinted from “Transmigration” by Joy Ladin. Copyright © 2009 by Joy Ladin. Used with the permission of the publisher, The Sheep Meadow Press.

Share Post


is Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University in New York. Her memoir is called Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders. She’s also the author of seven collections of poetry, and is currently the recipient of an NEA fellowship to write I am What I Will Be: Reading God and the Torah from a Transgender Perspective.

Share Your Reflection