Naomi Ortiz


Saucy Berry Portal 

On nights when  sticky sweat glues skin to kitchen chair  neighbors scream  ceiling fan wobbles and screeches  empty fridge except hard limes and two lonely carrots  I pull out saucy berry from its little plastic drawer and wish nail polish was a portal   to leisure  With one swipe of color   I would be perfectly perched on lounge chair transported to where   glossy magazines  distant waves lap the shore  electric powered fan lazy twists  gentle 85° air   and the label’s directions —  avoid heat or flame —  could be followed to a T   balance heart shaped nail stencil   on middle finger  little dab of “get to it”  silver sparkles  when middle finger hovers just above the others is a Crip flip-off, with love   here people know me  how my hand and body move   charmed by my sass  clear coat protects this paradise   music bumps from speakers   hip dip and thrust shoulder finds the beat  late night dance floor accessible  wheels spin and roll  fingers illuminated   bright red to better show   contracture and calluses  of which I’m not ashamed    something about the shiny color makes me optimistic   like I don’t live in a world where   I am never expected  no accessible parking   hot slow-motion trample  with condescending eye   treated like an object  stepped over  pushed off to the side  where Crip flip-off is only raised fist


on my desk  traipses with nothing but cold calm assurance   across on top of keyboard  478  ?????????????????????????? z5\\\  I barricade her wandering with  arm  water bottle  sticky note booby-traps adhesive side up  ignore:  licks to fingertips  cold nose on arm   loud sniffs tail smack into my ribs a steady drum with squinty eyed look of disdain  a slow deliberate step   quick flick of paw  triggers avalanche of all the important papers  notebooks crash to the floor  startle response scamper  tufts of hair  fill   the   air   waft in  s l o w p l u m e s    Catalina sashays just out of reach  wants my attention   launches herself between my face and the screen   backs up booty butt hole to the camera  when I’m nervous and on  an important video call  thin black and white body becomes stone weight   she knows Crip arms can only push, not lift  takes full advantage   cat vs Crip body stalemate  until decidedly bored notices  pen perched an inch off the  edge  with one paw smack   writing utensil cat-a-pults airborne             cartw h e e l     t  w     i  r       l  sparkles in afternoon light         lands with clatter  cat body already in motion to  pounce



Naomi Ortiz is a Poet, Writer, Facilitator, and Visual Artist whose intersectional work focuses on  self-care for activists, disability justice, climate action, and relationship with place. Ortiz is the  author of Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice (Reclamation Press), a non-fiction book  exploring self-care tools and strategies for diverse communities. Their new poetry/prose  collection, Rituals for Climate Change: A Crip Struggle for Ecojustice (forthcoming Punctum  Books), explores how climate change impacts relationship with place, expands on and  complicates who is seen as an environmentalist, and reimagines what being in relationship with  the land can look like. Ortiz is a Zoeglossia Poetry Fellow whose poems have been nominated for Best of the Internet, listed on Entropy’s “Best of 2020-2021: Favorite Poems Published Online,” and appear in a variety of publications, anthologies, and performances. Ortiz is a Disabled Mestizx living in the Arizona U.S./Mexico borderlands. Website: