Cat Cotsell – Two Poems

None of your bucking fizziness


‘I just think you’re confused.’
I know you are
but what am I?
You’re not getting any hints
from looking down my shirt.
I just think that –
It’s just funny how –
I just want to say –
You can’t just—
It’s just my opinion.
(I live in an unjust world, but you Just)
‘You can only have XX or XY chromosomes’
says the guy who last took science
in high school.
All he has to do is
read the wikipedia page
on chromosomes.
All I have to do is
read every book, every paper
shove a Masters in my own queerness up my arse
comprehend and be ready to comprehensively defend
the nuanced and delicate interplay between what
science knows and what science does not yet know
the subjectivity of culture and identity and
grasp fully the concrete biology.
All I have to do is
all the stuff it’s unreasonable to ask him to do
check his every unchecked fact
answer his squirming invasive questions
about my body, my hypothetical trauma
cross every box on his list while patiently
letting him dehumanize me with his ‘opinion’
and respect his right to spit on me
and, in the end,
to Just Disagree.
All I have to do. All the shit
I have to do.
Why are you so defensive?
Here’s a thought:
All you have to do is
treat me
you would treat
a housecat.
‘What’s her name?’
‘Catrick Swayze.’
‘Oh, his, sorry. Cool name.’

Courtship Ritual

I’m dressed to the nines, to kill, to impress
upon you the impeccable silhouette of
the wide-eyed owl, unforgettable
svelte as a white ghost alert on the fence,
a startlingly serious familiar little alien.
But the unmoving is part of the charm and I
want to strut,
a grey pigeon head bobbing in the sun
turned out in wings flashing turquoise,
gold, rose, rainbows refracting on a
rugged round grey peasant,
provincial but not unpleasant,
I want to look how trendy ghosts
wish they looked.
You make me crave to be
effortlessly fancy, not by design
but organically, a stunning accident of
natural selection, because no bright god
could invent something like a toucan,
who can, bless his heart, with a
beak like a space age bike handle
somehow occupy the forest gallery wall
of a work of living art, up against
birds of paradise, that’s the kind of
confidence I aspire to, thanks to you.
I just want for you to think I’m
weirdly graceful, be momentarily
stalled by me, that’s all,
the way I am when you
wobble, turn your head and tilt it like that,
like you’re up on stilts and keeping an eye out
for stealthy cats.



Cat Cotsell is a nonbinary panromantic creative generalist. Their writing can be found in Bent Street, qommunicate’s Hashtag Queer volume 2, and cicerone journal’s Canberra antho­logy These Strange Outcrops. They also illustrate as Cat Hesarose.

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