A Seat at the Trickster’s Table

I arrived hungry to the feast
invitation clutched in hand,
but something seems off—
there are only tricksters around this table.
I can’t look too closely at the center offering
in case I recognize the face.
It’s a well-kept secret but even the most
respectable animals will eat one another
if the season is right.
They just hide their blood-soaked
lips behind fine linen napkins.
I spent so long learning to use the
cutlery from the outside in,
butter knife on its own plate.
But the buzzard at the head of the table
has no need for such utensils,
and the rabbit to his right
eats everything with a dessert fork.
I could leave but I spent years
sewing this dress,
this isn’t the fashion back home,
and I still owe so much for the fabric.
Besides, I’m hungry.
I traveled too far to turn
back on an empty stomach,
and they don’t give these invitations
to everyone—just ask the guy
they’re serving onto plates.
I guess there’s nothing left to do but
claim the seat between Fox
and Crow, and grow my nails long
to pick apart the bones.
Even the gentlest of beasts
will eat flesh
if the season is right.

 

 


Jenny L. Davis (Chickasaw) is a Two-Spirit/queer Indigenous writer and professor of American Indian Studies and Anthropology. Her creative work has been featured in literary journals including Transmotion; Anomaly; and Broadsided, as well as in anthologies such as As/Us; Raven Chronicles; and Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance.

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