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  • Writer's picturetheperiwinklepelic

natural diversity - audrey t. carroll

we call it The Birds and The Bees

and yet this never translates

to two gay penguins raising their young

or the gender mindfuck that is anthophila

we cannot measure desire

(gold dust day geckos and European bitterlings

have declined to take Kinsey scale tests)

and we do not know their languages well

enough to hear the cadences of self-

identification, but we can measure

one thing: homosexual behavior

i.e. fucking courtship affection

traveling pairing off or parenting

we have golden monkeys and rattlesnakes, jewel

cichlids and killer whales and false killer

whales, and maybe this is where the confusion

comes from—this, and tasmanian devils: cartoonishly

imagined hell-sent queer chaos

we have migratory locusts, a nomadic

plague left wandering; they say we are the plague,

but we know what true plagues look like: albatrosses

draped like metaphors, we have mourning

geckos reproducing by parthenogenesis, a species nearly

all female, where even the males are sterile,

and all-female whiptail lizards who simulate fucking

our court has a king penguin, queen

butterfly, nobility in the form

of espejitos with glass

wings perfectly translucent,

nearly invisible, and vampire

bats not uncommon—

vampires always return to queer

in some way or another

while the bicolored antbird is, disappointingly,

not pink, purple, and blue, we do have

so many of the intelligent

species like elephants and dolphins, but

in our next queer lifetime, many of us would love

to come back as birds of paradise,

birds of whatever paradise we could find

Audrey T. Carroll is the author of the What Blooms in the Dark (ELJ Editions, 2024) and Parts of Speech: A Disabled Dictionary (Alien Buddha Press, 2023). Her writing has appeared in Lost Balloon, CRAFT, JMWW, Bending Genres, and others. She is a bi/queer/genderqueer and disabled/chronically ill writer. She serves as a Diversity & Inclusion Editor for the Journal of Creative Writing Studies, and as a Fiction Editor for Chaotic Merge Magazine. She can be found at and @AudreyTCarroll on Twitter/Instagram.


1 komentarz

Maya Preisler
Maya Preisler
02 lis 2023

This… was so perfectly written, so evocative, that I am crying. Thank you.

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