pronoun circle-jerk and the dog charlie

i had scarcely got acquainted
when they took me by the paw & made me even-minded
nor did i mind
i had exactly enough window
i had exactly enough to get started
wine makes a person weak
that is not to say that wine is not delightful, only
that it makes a person weak
a person can be made weak with whiskey
and this was the mexicans’ military tactic
with the chiricahua apache
and the dutch with the lenape down in manahatta
there was a dog named charlie
cally called it an ‘it’
when we had our pronoun circle-jerk
i told the group they could call me ‘it’
you know like the sky and the grass and
a bird where you can’t tell what it is
it, its, itself
but then i sort of chickened out and said
if ‘it’ ‘made them feel weird’ as a pronoun for a human
they could call me ‘they’
or any gender-neutral pronoun i said
xe or zae or e or shim-sham or
two head-cocks and a click i joked
looking at charlie’s belly as charlie
rolled on its back

Julian Talamantez Brolaski, “pronoun circle-jerk and the dog charlie.” Copyright © 2019 by Julian Talamantez Brolaski. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow.
Source: PoetryNow (2019)