Turtle Island, 1492-2017

There are dances trapped in my tendons,
I run rivers around them, streams and dams
of blood run into stretchmarks like Nebraskan cornfields.
In my marrow there are wild horses,
they are running, they are on fire.
I am sent to the mountains, where grandfather
said Creator lived, to help us heal. I walk

to the center of our pain, in shoes made from
teeth—ones smashed by boot and gun barrel,
and none of them are mine, yet I am responsible
for them. An infection is oozing here, displacement

from dysfunctional decay. My grandfather said
that the people don’t know how to sing the songs
that can close up the wounds.

Even with my feet splinted, carrying the burden of ended
voices, my hands are still soft—absent from the dangerously
deceitful, I have buried ceremony under my fingernails like
remnants of defense wounds.

Even burdened by the myths of a wandering womb,
one that holds my ancestors’ memories, I have felt

phantom weights hung upon my hips, like a child’s arms
or a belt holding story beads, or hoops of rope waiting
to be thrown on the nearest mountain. I wish like in the
stories of heroic deeds, I could kill the colonial beast by

stroking its ragged ear, before opening my own jaw and swallowing
it whole—digesting the body of trauma with it.

By Moira J.


“Moira J., or Gaagé Dat’éhe (Quiet Crow), is a mix’d Indigenous writer who explores the messy world of being agender, queer, and biracial. They explore sexuality, spirituality, trauma, displacement, and kinships in poetry, origin stories, and creative nonfiction. They have their Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. They currently live and write in Oregon with the support of their spouse, and the family pet: Dana Scully. Moira J’s work has been featured in Girls Get Busy zine, i-D Magazine, Toe Good Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Bayou Magazine, and more. They have upcoming publications with Sea Foam Magazine and The Account. You stay updated on Moira J. by going to moiraj.wixsite.com/home, or on Twitter @moira__j.”

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