Moss: Volume Four is out now! Visit our online store to find the piece below, alongside work from dozens of other Northwest writers, in a beautiful print edition.

Quantifiable
Dawn Pichón Barron 

I.
Did you know there are 27 bones in one human hand?
If those 27 comprise a quarter of all the bones in one human,
And supposing a human has two hands, thus half the bones of
Our human are located in the hands—hands that love or
Kill with half the bones of the body—like if we had our Indian
Bones or Irish bones in just our hands, were measured by
Our capable hands

II.
If the average human heart thumps around 100,000 beats a day
Pumping 2000 gallons of blood through its preciousness,
Does the heart know when the blood is our colonizer blood
Or other? Can the heart feel the forces of oppressed and oppressor;
The story of bloods mixing? But more importantly, does the pure-blood
Feel different as it cruises up and into the heart, leaving just the same
Our broken hearts

III.
Do the experts truly know the brain holds as much data as a 64-gigabyte iPhone?
Information from past, present, and possibly the future—if one believes
Outside the scope of tangible—If the data were translated to sound, and
Echolocation practiced, could we find ourselves in reflected sound waves?
Can we program what data we keep, and what we destroy, or replace with
Stories from ancestors, awakened by our calling
Our muscle-memory

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IV.
No other in the mammalian world has the uvula dangling in the back of the
Mouth with its precious cargo, packed cavity of nerves and muscle and bone
The uvula would be proof enough, yes, that all humans are the same
Placing to bed, under a spell to never wake, atrocities of other
Heart swells with blood and belonging, bones of hands unmarked,
Brains powered by such knowledge, the past
Our forced swallow

V.
On average, a human takes around 20,000 breaths a day
Breathing in the air-memory of the land and history, breath held inside until
Released, and what if each breath carried a piece of self
Entered another and another, for no single breath can find a home
No ownership or allotment, no safe passage as breath would tell the story
Our legacy


Dawn Pichón Barron is a writer and educator. She earned her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte, NC and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Indigenous Development & Advancement. She is the Director of the Native Pathways Program and member of the Faculty at The Evergreen State College. Her work has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Of A Monstrous Child (Lost Horse Press, 2011), WA 129 (Sage Press, 2017), and her chapbook, ESCAPE GIRL BLUES (Finishing Line Press, 2018). She lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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Moss is a journal of writing from the Pacific Northwest. Published annually in print, Moss is dedicated to exploring the intersection of place and creative expression, while exposing the region’s outstanding writers to a broad audience of readers, critics, and publishers.

The piece above is now available in print as part of Moss: Volume Four. Click below to order the volume online, or find it at an independent bookstore near you.
Featuring new writing and interviews from more than two dozen Northwest writers and poets, Moss: Volume Four is available online and in stores now.
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