Featured Artist & Poet

Subhaga Crystal Bacon

Subhaga Crystal Bacon (they/them) is the author of four collections of poetry including most recently the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Transitory, a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry, 2023, from BOA Editions, and Surrender of Water in Hidden Places, winner of the Red Flag Poetry Chapbook Prize, 2023, due out in a second edition in the summer of 2024. They are a teaching-artist in schools and libraries as well as working with private students individually and in groups. A Queer elder, they live in rural North Central Washington on unceded Methow land.

Na Sik Elt: Icicle Creek

Hidden on the north side of na sik elt,
under the boughs of cedar that bend
down as if to drink, a whole universe
of moss. It’s like a dream of earth
before white men came, green
and lush, and variegated. Tiny lakes
dot the land where last night’s rain
is caught, reflecting back sky and branch.
At water’s edge, a broken cedar knee
worn smooth with years bows to river’s
song, its long-throated hymn to those gone
from bankside camp. Not the white haired
man in his camper van, not me, here
enjoying this stolen solace. I say hymn,
but maybe it’s a song of moving on,
taking everything along to the open sea.
A death and a birth song: I belong to me.

Excerpt from “This/Sister”

I fold my jewel-tone panties, 
file away my bras by cup type— 
each with its own small drawer. 
I bend and drop stacks of socks 
and feel my woman’s body move.
These breasts. The soft belly 
over the part of me that opens 
inside, layers of labia, flesh 
of pudenda, all alive. 

White, this-gender, Queer, in this body 
sixty-five years. I do not take for granted 
those extra thirty years. My clothes run 
from boy to matron. I have the privilege 
to wear them, to live only dependent on how I feel. 

A little butch. 
A little femme.
My trans brothers and sisters, 
no one should have to die for this.

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