Moira J || F2O19

April 18, 2018
4 poems by Tessa Livingstone
April 18, 2018
2 poems by Jesse Miksic ​ 中さげフホそ
April 19, 2018

J. Moira



 We don’t name our girls with things that can die:

            flowers are too oft subjugated to murder and decay.

                        But what happens when I am not girl

            and not boy? Do I inhabit the name of

ghosted things, undead things? Even seeds stomped

            into the ground are capable of returning—

                        like part-chimera of magic and honey, a body

            painted in holy white and lightning. Come autumn,

there will be another birthday for the not girl and not boy,

            with name that of a black bird’s ribcage. We talk about

                        building a house of cedar, we don’t build the

wigwams anymore, but at least we can hold ceremony in

a familiar skeleton. My uncle tells me how

            to find the things we lose:

throw a match in every corner of the house, and your

            lost thing will return to you. I still have not asked him

what happens when I am the thing that is lost. I am still

waiting for the resurrection of my body, ladled in the hot breath

            of an animal who has ripped their leg from a bear

trap and sang with joy. We pray to the great creature

who lingers on the edge of the river, unbleached from the

words of white men and their faults. Yes, here the beast is

found purposeful and good, it does not matter if it is the

not girl and not boy—you do not look past the jaw that will

swallow you whole. And yes, here is a place that exists only

with song and tradition to take in loving things,

even if the name of it holds death.




Mouth acts as a light snare

          and I finger the sun     right out of you
your secret becomes oral floss of
            the meat                      that I suck
            from your fingers       where you have

                        hidden old receipts and the only
                        letter from your mother         where
                                    she says she is proud
                                    of you—

            we say             we can fill each other up       
                       even when we just are marrow and

hair      I trust  that we mean

                                    even if our bodies speak         to
                                    the nothingness           that they
                        dare to occupy.



Remember these of summer-set eves:
grain silos as thrones, a sky turned

inked and toiled—sky space as fresh
            earth, an obsidian lake.

            Fireballs sit steady on
            Albertan farmland; this is
                        a quip about German
            Mennonites and scorched
                        wheat fields.

Breath is hummed with cicada wings
beating, fog rolling into
lungs with smoke stack pillars,
each new hand occupying the other or
            a shared cigarillo.

                        Your girl tastes like limes
                        and cornflakes, cheeks
            shivering a thousand
            shades of pink with

a tongue just as greedy. Our eyes act
as anchors to keep the blue
collar town alive,

until we have the means to raze it
                            to the ground.


Moira J. is an agender poet from Dził Łigai Sian N’dee (White Mountain Apache Nation) and currently lives in Boston. Their work is published/forthcoming in Phoebe Journal, The Shallow Ends, Blue Fifth Review, Salt Hill Journal, and more. They are a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee. You can find them on Twitter @moira__j, or read their work at