Feasting on Dysphoria and Sparrows by Moira J.

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Feasting on Dysphoria and Sparrows

It is almost October in the woods,
            where I am held at an encampment,
                         my room full of heavy mountain
            air that hangs syruped on my jaw.

A man is telling me that I am a woman,
            instead of monstering
            flesh, paled like wisteria
            stacked with smoke that mirrors
            the cigarettes held in his glass bowl.

                                                  I dump the ashes to give water,
                                      to the sparrows, luring them to my
                                                  windowsill, catching them in
                                                  my hands and stuffing them
                                      in my cheeks, my words becoming
                         plumed with promises of redemption—or
                         something like absolution.

                         The birds are so particular as they flail,
                         their erratic song penetrating my wisdom
                         teeth, but still I do not become wiser.

                         The man later removes
                         the scraps, sneaking a
plunged hand deeper to remove innards—
my personal now made public.

I hang his desire like damp blankets on
                         the laundry lines, waiting for
            my bones to turn acrid and unpleasable,
passing the time by pulling feathers free from
my bleeding gum line.

Moira J.

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 twitter @moira__j.