What It Is and Where You Find It

Rebekkah Leigh LaBlue

I’m admittedly taken          by a coastline in winter—sand in cold, dead

of starlight so readily mistaken for snow.          Eyes closed, the charade


only realer: that grating squeak before the give, compact

more stark—I know there’s a science to this.          A lilt.          Some giving-


over girlishness only my bone tongue can describe          slick

statistic          outstanding deviation          but a man wants to see


how I’ll contend with being called          the same somber          and I say no, not snow         

underfoot, but a mouse,          raw comma reeling.          Up the dunes


a grackle calls: mateless          and every citation at the end of this data

has a shadow like a fulcrum          coaxed from gut-wrench, stomach acid


sleeting up the walls. Doubt          red as the reek of beets,          true to form

as when he took me there,          unwitting.          I don’t just like men—         


I offer.          Test low tide’s willingness to raise moonglare, water black         

—in this climate?—gendered hurricanes and the femmes


always send me packing?—          love men I always do. Each time at least

two girls faltered: this one, with the brick on her sleeve          and the string


of pelicans teasing the horizon as a choker—sooted pearls

for my girl-slut lullaby, wannabe.          I thought entender was a word—


I haven’t been tender enough to earn it.          The joke

is just before beach’s end—the point where the expanse hemorrhages


into something like desert—where the inlet’s met as an afterthought

by anything not-bird, not-reed inundated—          a hotel yawns amber—


reflux of glass dotted with the silhouettes of restless strangers         

—stunts the marsh—          signals the moment past which wandering


is at your own risk.          I’ve gone there many times, though

not with the right intention.          I’ve been told the joke—


I haven’t kissed enough girls          to say I’ve done so with intent.          Not enough

field work, see. My cruelest words          hidden


in cartilage shimmer: No,          not snow—          Binary, bite. Feather mathematics.         

In seasonless red.          The bone          a charade of its own.




Audio Recording of Rebekkah Leigh LaBlue Reading “What It Is and Where You Find It”

Rebekkah Leigh LaBlue is a queer poet and ornithologist pseudo-native to Asheville, North Carolina by way of Long Island. The recipient of scholarships from Bread Loaf Environmental, her work can be found in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Figure 1, and Muzzle. She reads poetry for The Adroit Journal and holds birds in hand @rllablue.