Two Poems by L. R. Bird


were i to subject my brain to confession the way i do to therapy, perhaps
i would begin & end with each of your names the way i know my 
name has also bookended the list of sins the confessor & i had
demanded of our bodies, so i am considering your conflicting
doctrine, & how little i know of you except what my hands
remember. i’ve been having dreams about you again. in
them i consented in your hometown, we ate local berries, 
i checked a state off my list. but instead i’m hollowed out 
in the most peculiar sense: filling someone else. i mean
i’m having a hard time not leaving (again). i’m eating
until we’re both crying. i’m sober until i’m not. 
my symptoms are more honest than i am: stress-
related paranoia ongoing feelings of emptiness 
impulsive behavior risky behavior success 
sabotaging behavior: most of the time before 
people know me the way i need them to, 
they G–gle me, & i mean they can: my mug-
shot(s) my legal name my lovers who oscillate 
between prose, who disappear vilified & 
are brought back to my mouth with docu-
mented [redacted] admissions. forgive me,
g_d of a war that was supposed to make
sense. you & someone you hate say 
y’all share the same origin myths so 
i don’t know if i believe in your bed-
room anymore. i watched you undo
the decorations. how you walked
out of yourself & into some-
one’s bad archetype. O, g_d
of giving up the punchline:
send someone else to 
hol[y/d] me. give me law
& liquor: a fifth of each:
with which to confess
where i hid the rest 
of the ________.



i name each ailment after a cryptid because i like the idea of my limbs given excuses for their magic acts: finally reasons for immobility: a defiant belief against my body’s traditional connotation: how i used to split night-pavement in combat boots: before i forgot how to hold my breath: i swam a mile every other day: now my nerves bulge: my hip disappears: a pain accused of being imagined: an improbable monster: there is no science to explain why my skin bloats: like that: as a child my spine was scrutinized for a scoliosis experiment: i expected to hold a booking number during my mugshot(s) i mean: let me blister into a joke but no, now, every doctor’s measurement feels like a driver’s license seance: pull whoever my bones belonged to before all this shit happened out of my phlemed-up throat and ask them to state their age and address for the camera: i promise i am still angry about how much childhood i lost to doctors’ disappointing hands and still, now, when i wake up surgery after surgery in only more debt not less pain: i can remember not being disabled the way i remember being happy– i’m not sure i could tell you— but i must have felt it: the root word of “cryptid” is “hidden”: so that’s what i call this invisibility: how last month the stairs didn’t matter and now i am crying: at the top of them separated from something i need, again: or an amorphous mythology: how can i expect anyone to believe me: amateur cryptozoologist of my own body: when i can’t tell you how i got here: when science can’t either: when all i know is one day i woke up knowing: something had gotten lost: inside of me–


L. R. Bird is a disabled transsexual cryptid from the Jersey Shore. As a slam poet they toured and competed internationally and hosted prelim/final stages and open mics. They have work in the 2017 Bettering American Poetry anthology and pieces from their most recent chapbook INVENTION OF THE MOUTH (Dream Pop Press, 2019) have been nominated for multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. They want to hear about your favorite bridge.