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The day I learnt self
was once spelled selbaz I realised my lexicon was full
of fickle male lyrebirds, stealing
chainsaw refrains and shutter clicks for their mates
and that warships are she’s because
they’re grand and ineffable and because
captains are men and men
want women, even though ships
have no genitals nor lips
to protest it.

And in class we’re told that they
is too potent to be wielded
by a person alone, because subject-verb
agreement cares not for self, you’re either
he or she or error
and errors make people uncomfortable
And then we are taught to squirm
when such errors are made.

Because my card says F
and my body lies, she,
spelled from G A T C,
and they all answer, she, she, she
as if words in libraries could orchestrate the building of cities
as if Alexandria were an armoury
as if I were a ship.

Are you a girl or a boy? asks a pair of bright
pink lips. “I am a girl
a girl,” I parrot
“and I like dolls
because of my karyotype”

But I have not been able to bring myself
to wear a dress
to wear my double X
for a decade

and I’m just a liar
liar
lyrebird
speaking stolen words
but the one that lays the eggs
without his pharyngeal virtuosity.



Amari Low (a.k.a. Circlejourney) is a Singaporean artist and writer currently based in Australia. Neurodivergent, nonbinary, and growing up in a country where identities are assigned rather than discovered, their life has always lain at a tideline between authority and individuality, between who they are and who others think they are. They are fascinated with how subjective experiences sit amid scientific knowledge, and their work often explores the connections and frictions between the two. Amari can be followed at twitter.com/circlejourney, and a collection of their writing can be found at lowamari.tumblr.com.
Current Issue
20 May 2024

Andrew was convinced the writer had been trans. By this point his friends were tired of hearing about it, but he had no one else to tell besides the internet, and he was too smart for that. That would be asking for it.
You can see him / because you imagine reconciliation.
It’s your turn now. / the bombs have come in the same temper— / you in your granny’s frame
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