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Kai Pyle


a body filled with lake. a lake filled with fish. a fish filled with poison. the ojibwe word for radioactive means “that which is intense.” the root is the same as the word for stomach ache. once i had an attack while in sight of the water on the magnificent mile in a snowstorm. my body filled with lake and it froze and the icebergs rattled around inside me and the fish screamed out, out, out.


crossing the bridge, the shatterglass of the river below was the same as the one inside my mind, crazytown. which is also the experience of waiting for the bus in subzero temperatures with an iced lemonade clutched in one fist. the stares come and come. on the number six i overhear five languages i can recognize and none of them are ojibwe. sometimes i fantasize about holding my phone up to my ear and speaking into it, muttering to myself in the language this land used to know, crazytown.


sometimes i’ve had attacks on the bus, writhing in my seat radioactive. in 2011 there is a sign on campus that says celebrating 50 years of mental health; the dates read 1960-2010 so i figure i missed the cutoff and am allowed to exist. sometimes horizontal is the only way to be. sometimes in the smoky silent aftermath i sit next to him on the edge of the bathtub and our bodies make the shape of a prayer. pouring the last of the alcohol down the drain for the lake to drink. yeah. statistically speaking four out of four queer college students living in my apartment are fucking batshit insane. the technical term, crazytown. swimming in our broken bodies like poison fish. diagnosis stew tastes good with alphabet soup.


at nighttime it’s daylight out and other mysteries of circadian rhythm disorders. these are the kinds of things i worry about. like whether or not when you lie next to me you can feel the points of lightning inside my body, or if today will be the day line 5 breaks and tomorrow i’ll wake up to a shoreline covered in slick. at a radius of two blocks, the lake and i have an understanding. in this skunk’s town i’m a stinky bay kind of kid but hey, if turtles keep coming back here then why shouldn’t i.


Kai Minosh Pyle is a Michif and Baawiting Nishnaabe writer currently living on the Dakota people’s homelands in Bde Ota Otunwe (Minneapolis, Minnesota). They spend their time learning their ancestral languages, researching Métis and Anishinaabe history, and generally doing what it takes to survive colonial capitalist America in a Native queer disabled landbodymind.


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