Two poems by L.R. Bird


to go like this instead:

how do you fuck someone
whose skin peels back
away from your hands
the first five or ten times
you attempt touch, even
if you’ve only offered
open palms, even if
you bought dinner and
washed your sheets?

if they say yes,
then gently. always,



VIII. The New Jersey Devil Is A Cryptid That Haunts The Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey and Wants You To Know That The Root Word of “Cryptid” Means “Hidden”:

The day the FBI came into my job like a fog I fought my flight instinct by looking it in the mouth and then breaking all its teeth out. This is not a nightmare but I’ve had one that’s been similar. The stage alights on a pool of blood but its my throat. The blood drips into the audience but its the whole stage. I’m on the stage and also in the blood or the blood is on me and I’ve got fistfulls of teeth. I throw my teeth into the audience and they catch it like rainwater. The audience blooms so swollen I can’t see the theatre’s exits anymore. The FBI asks me what I remember and I say wet. The FBI drives to the back of my tongue and asks me what I’ve got pooling back there. I say a boy’s hands in a field and then the field bloomed into a highway. I say a boy’s hands in my hair and then my hair pulled out. I say there was blood and now I’m a boy. The FBI takes meticulous notes, spells my name correctly the first time without asking, then opens its mouth and whoever I was before last summer falls out like a stillbirth.


XI. The New Jersey Devil Meets God On A Backroad And Neither Shoots First:

The new joke is that it is a joke. Any gun-mention or fire-word or blown-up-bloom is immediately followed by yelling the FBI into the air and promising its not true. You know the joke where everyone has their own FBI agent? Well turns out I’ve got three. You know the joke where the FBI knows everything about you? Well I can’t tell you about it. You know the joke about the FBI? Well it happened to me.


XII. While There Have Been Numerous Attempts To Codify Cryptozoology, None of Them Have Been Successful in Aiding The Capture of The New Jersey Devil:

I am learning there is no highway that will take me out of my body like they all used to. I’ve been experimenting with new ways to disappear. Every morning I wake up and there’s a new bruise so I don’t know who my body belongs to anymore. I’m supposed to say myself but I’ve told the truth this whole year and it didn’t stop my tires from being slashed or for my name to be coughed up on the part of the internet where men discuss killing girls. Not even my name is mine anymore. Say it three times and the FBI will appear wearing bloodied gloves. Say it into the mirror and my mother will float out of your mouth and sit on the edge of your bathtub crying into a shirt I threw out three years ago. Say my name each time you cross a bridge and the breeze picks up perfectly for a half second until you make it to the other side and then all that’s left over is someone leaning on their car-horn behind you. Say my name when you’re fucking someone else and you will both break a tooth on it. Say my name on the internet and everyone who has ever loved me will repeat it like a prayer until no matter where I am I can hear it. Say my name underwater and it will sound like a gunshot. Say my name while shooting a gun and the bullet will climb into your bed and break you. Say my name within earshot of a cop and I’ll ghost out of your life like fog. Say my name into a dark room and every piece of electronic surveillance in my hometown will trigger itself on and my mother will see all the bright beeping lights and that’s how we both know I’m still alive.




L.R. Bird (they/them) is a transgender author, Aries, and bridge enthusiast from the Jersey Shore. Talk to them via



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One response to “Two poems by L.R. Bird”

  1. Ian says:

    “I Want the Rape Joke” did so much work in such a small space. For what it’s worth, I’m impressed.

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