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 weesageechak 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.