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Hawk they re-nicknamed her.
With the best eyesight out of ten siblings,
she couldn’t spot the unspoken–her OG–

Gay–was a moniker for the desire
I refused, certain cock would break the camel’s back
not my cousins fighting in the pasture, not my uncles,

drunkfagged and carnivorous outside
my closeted mind, heralding new days
with obscene calls, waking us from all the rooms

of my grandparent’s house.
My hands still sticky with self
from the sight of shirtless farmers baling hay

who treated their horses to the biggest carrots
this side of the Mississippi that, when bit,
juiced an orange Idaho only knew as fire.

The kind that dripped off M Hill on the fourth of July,
when fireworks overtook the brush. It heightened our visions
to the heavens, to little bursts of smoke

that if suspended in time would sound a singe across the sky.
Keeping her gaze on all of us, Mother Hawk
didn’t let any shit get past her, her sky view,

but I tested the accuracy of her observations
by furling in, where feathers friction into
my tell. I have wings.

Taylor Portela is a queer nonbinary poet and performer who received their MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech and now calls Oregon home. Their work has appeared in Fence, Juked, WUSSY Mag, and elsewhere.

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