I am borne of cactus fruit and seeds
from the mesquite tree—my arms are
weatherworn and I dream of dancing,
my legs giving way to tallow and meat,
bones being worked into needles and
scrapers for flesh-ridden hides.
I have gathered salt from the desert
to trade for granite tips and blankets,
I collect what I need for my hollows
rustling like wet underthings in grass.
Now my elbows creak from lifting
the stars as lampposts, but I cannot
sleep without fear of coyotes eating
my gut, ripped and tender in soft pieces.
I protect my belly with turtle shells and pin
myself down, meadows acting as corkboard,
darkness passes over like a collector’s finger—
my spine exposed like livewires, to be touched
is to press my cheek down among stones, hoping
to be enveloped by the blood pooling around.
I do not sleep, only watch the burned matter
above fizzle and crisp like popped corn, fruit
flies peck my jawbone with familiarity, skin
is spoiled like old jam. In the mornings, I am
sore and thankful for the ache: I cannot be
ungrateful to those who built homes for me.
Moira J., or Gaagé Dat’éhe (Quiet Crow), is an Indigenous writer who explores being agender, queer, and biracial. They examine these relationships through poetry, origin stories, and creative nonfiction. Moira J. has been published in Girls Get Busy Zine, Naugatuck River Review, ENCLAVE, Bayou Magazine, and more. They have upcoming publications with Sea Foam Magazine, The Account, The 3288 Review, and 1001: A Literary Journal. You can keep updated on Moira J. at their website moirajwriting.tumblr.com, or on Twitter @moira__j.