For Oryx, the Taken King

Once I could have loved.
But love was cleaved damp
from my body. Carved soft
and wet from the rest
of my hard existence,
cast aside, with everything
that could be renamed

Power is easy;
it costs only cruelty.

A sword is not a weapon,
or a tool. It is an intention.
It is the heartful commitment
to violence at the cost of
identity. A sword is a sword
because it refuses
to be anything kinder.

Anything becomes a sword
when it is cruel enough;
anything can be cut
if we believe it can be killed.

Every morning I rise and pray:
God, that I might climb
to meet you on the mountain.
And every time God responds:
Come, cut the mountain down.


Nora Hikari (she/her) is an Asian American transgender poet and artist based in Philadelphia. She is a 2022 Lambda Literary fellow, and her work is published or forthcoming in Ploughshares, Washington Square Review, Palette Poetry, Foglifter, The Journal, and others. Her chapbook, GIRL 2.0, was a Robin Becker Series winner and is available at Seven Kitchens Press. She was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, and can be found at her website She is an Exo Hunter main.