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Gaudy by Cassy Dorff


by Cassy Dorff

published in Rust+Moth, Winter 2021

The bird book called him America’s most

gaudy bird. Some said the king cakes

in New Orleans were gaudy

and the Mardi Gras beads too,

gold, green, and purple inelegance

thrown from floats in the parade. Now

in central Texas, I look for this

bird in the Lost Pine Forest

wondering if he will be gaudy,

like the brassy god inside me

and the twinkling drag queens

who introduced me to the next world.

I want the sight of this bird to cut

my breath like the first time I saw two

men kiss and then there he is

a blue head and hood,

bold red eye liner, lime

green shoulder wings, red breast

and belly, yellow

in the places in between: painted bunting.

My heart—a revelry, a carnival feast,

a flashy and flamboyant beating.

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