when you gave my name to the cops by L. R. Bird

what did you think would happen? did you imagine my arrest as a movie?
            cheering spectators? cuffs conveniently jangled? hands blooming victory-sign?
instead, i’ve just got all this hard-won anger. before you gave my name to the cops,
            did you flashback on our white-lie crimes? our teenaged beach-streak? smirking
behind salt-rimmed drinks in whichever bar was too polite to kick us out? when
            we were engaged, we’d joked about the circumstances of an arrest, of our flightless
bodies tunneling—three years ago i was dragged out of my apartment in only-underwear
            by six cops and three detectives and held mostly-naked bare-foot for five-hours|
while they waited for a warrant to be signed. O, which judge was that?
            who maybe finished playing a level of Candy Crush before deciding who i am.
who wanted to see how long i could hold my breath. the week you get married to
            someone who isn’t me, thousands of people google Abolish The Police for the first time.
were you one of them? or had you done that already? did you research abolition
            before or after i was in solitary confinement? did whatever podcast you listened to
that suggested this opinion remind you that snitches set the table in hell? did you imagine
            me struggling the way i’ve chased birds around cages trying to croon them into landing?
are you reading this cringing? will you find out what a scab is when you scratch at
            your identity looking for something interesting? when you gave up on my name—
when you fed me to the pigs—when you burned the flag of your self-respect
            to try and shut me up—did it work? i mean, did it give you closure?


L. R. Bird is an interdisciplinary archivist and belligerent transsexual from the Jersey Shore. They are the author of, among others, the chapbooks BLOODMUCK (The Atlas Review), INVENTION OF THE MOUTH (Dream Pop Press), and BAITED MEMORY (Ghost City Press), as well as being anthologized in Bettering American Poetry Vol. 3. They want to hear about your favorite bridge, and can be contacted via birdpoet.github.io

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.