One More Thing, Before We Bleed Out.

By Shaawan Francis Keahna.

“He touched me soft, and I prayed / saw branches in his fingertips, in his eyes, / mouth, skin

Perne#7 by Cleve Gray.

I prayed

for burnished calluses

Something accustomed

to glass and acid to pour my toxic heavy

oh no


Lord, deliver me from emails

academic integrity

ivory towers and dreams of crimson

cheeked professors holding my body

together at the shoulders,

my embarrassed cries of “everything

outside hurts me, everything in here is



Before the candles,

the cake, before the cake, our mothers

aching for better sons, better daughters


He touched me soft, and I prayed

saw branches in his fingertips, in his eyes,

mouth, skin

I prayed to the tree he was and the tree I’d

been and the sticks and the stones and

the bones, the smoke of the dead.


Before we stoked, he called me home

to my worst secret, my deepest core, and

when I answered him correctly,

he pushed me to the floor.

The Blood Pudding – June 1, 2023

Shaawan Francis Keahna is a cross-disciplinary artist and musician. His comics have been published in A Howl by Native Realities, Butter Saint by YBI Studios, and the Asian Cyborg and Other Othered Bodies by Ellie Hyojung Lee. His words can be found in R.I.S.E. Indigenous, the Vassar Review’s “Fact, Fiction, and Fabrication,” and the Indigenous LGBT Sci Fi anthology, Love Beyond Body, Space and Time. He performs with his father as Billy Jackass and by himself as Bogo La$ik. He is a transient twenty-something who currently resides in Northern Minnesota.

Artwork: Cleve Gray was an American painter best known for his calligraphic abstractions which melded elements of Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, and traditional Chinese scroll painting. Often contrasting flat applications of colors with gestural brushstrokes, You can find more about him here.