Today's poem is by Billy-Ray Belcourt

The Cree Word For a Body Like Mine is Weesageechak

the cree word for a body like mine is weesageechak. the old ones know
of this kind of shape-shifting: sometimes i sweat and sweat until my
bones puddle on the carpet in my living room and i am like the water
that comes before new life.

i was born during a falling leaves moon; which is to say that i have
always been good at sacrifice. it is believed that women are most
powerful during their moontime and because of this do not take part
in ceremonies in order to let the body cleanse itself there are
weesageechak days when gender is a magic trick i forgot how to
perform and my groin floods and floods trying to cleanse itself like
the women and i too become toxic for men who have built cages out
of broken boys.

maybe if i surrendered myself to grandmother moon she would know
what to do with these pickaxe wounds. there is so much i need to tell
her about how my rivers and lakes are crowded and narrowing. how i
managed to piece together a sweat lodge out of mud and fish and
bacteria. she gives me the cree name and translates it to
"sadness is a carcass his tears leave behind."

and the crows and flies who don't care about gender will one day
make away with my jet-black finger nails and scraggly armpit hairs.
they will lay tobacco at my grave and tell their crow and fly kin that i
was once a broad-shouldered trickster who long ago fell from the
moon wearing make-up and skinny jeans.

Copyright © 2017 Billy-Ray Belcourt All rights reserved
from This Wound is a World
Frontenac House
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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