Nora Hikari

Coming Out Letter as a Perching Bird

& I would have sixteen different ways
to tell you what a homebrew girl is,
like throat all over, & “a body is a body
until it isn't,” & "the paperbirch bursts
from the black earth like a firecracker,
laughing the whole way about the birth of the moon”

or I could describe it as a contest of wills,
between the grip of God's mangled fist clenched around
my loins & my heart struggling to spread wings
out from my abandoned teeth. I believe in

humanity's ability to fly, & I believe in
incomplete systems, & I believe not everything
that exists can be eaten by logic
or desire. I believe in burning
a preemptive autoeulogy in the same trash bin
as a birth certificate. I don't believe in birth
certificates, or birth names, or birth in the singular.

My lovely yearbook of tendernamed
second girls is called "Once dead,
twice immortal." Nothing about us is dead,
not the futures we left in the care of your dreams,
not the organs we plattered to heaven to feed our becoming,
not even our names, despite what we would say to still you.

I kept a bird locked in my jaws. Fed her saltwater tears
& sour candy. She grew up bright pink & bristling
with indignation. Her feathers were made up of knitted
pronouns that haven't been invented yet. Her hands were
hands & her wings were wings & her dreams
were the shape of high vaulted ceilings,
because she didn't know how to ask for sky. She was gendered

through the hands & the feet & the throat & she was called
Isaac. She was called Bound-On-The-Mountain. Her real name was
true & secret. Her real name was a thing yet unseen by anyone.
Her real name was being thrown from my balcony.
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye. You are all so small from here.



Nora Hikari (she/her) is a transgender poet and artist based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming at The Shade Journal, ANMLY, Palette Poetry, Gulf Coast, and others. Her chapbook, Girl 2.0, is a Robin Becker Series winner, and is forthcoming at Seven Kitchens Press. She can be found at her website and contacted at