Back to Issue Twenty-Seven.



I say boy ​not sure if I mean myself
or an undoing, a slippage of sex
but always meaning a tender violence
or child’s play, a way of becoming

I say boi ​and mean a small
god of making—an appraisal
of my bad shape, it’s favor of the
blood that does & does not come

dysphoria​ is what it is called when
I say I​ don’t care for my breasts o​r
is what I mean by they get in the way
I say man​ and mean hunger

or twin tongue; a kin taste for cruelty
stalled at the site of the first wound
I say heel​ and mean to keep
the dogged fear at bay as its hands

tear into my hefty frame, persistent
until I feel a pit opening inside me
I say​ girl​ and mean Lord have mercy
on those days where I didn’t deserve any
of it, have mercy on how weak I believed I was.


Jari Bradley is a black genderqueer poet and scholar from San Francisco, California. Jari has received fellowships from Callaloo, Cave Canem, and Tin House. Their work has been featured in the Huffington Post, and is listed by Blavity among “15 Creatives in the Bay Area You Should Know.” Jari’s work has also been published in Callaloo, Hot Metal Bridge, Nomadic Ground Press, Virginia Quarterly Review, BOAAT, and Punctum Books’ Anti-Racism, Inc: Why the Way We Talk About Racial Justice Matters. Jari has an M.A. in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University, and is a recent MFA candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. They currently serve as Poetry Editor of the University of Pittsburgh literary magazine, Hot Metal Bridge.


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