Joshua Jennifer Espinoza



Poetry is painful and

it’s the only way I know how
       to show my love to the world

when the gaze is like a knife

      when even the breathing cuts
               and the wind
makes love to the

when there is laughter
             and healing, joy
      in the tiny spaces
we carve for ourselves
                        and each other

when there is no greater peace

      than being lonely together

draped in our words
                lapping up the moment

        when the light still remains
to show us some kind of answer

         in the mixing of our blood.





I put myself back inside my body.
I don’t need to stretch out to some
great length if I want to live.

All I have to do is be. Wash my hair
once a week. Leave the house
every so often. Dance in dark rooms

full of gorgeous gays. These are the
dreams I hold on to while the
storm clouds loom above and say

to hell with me, all my enormous
emotions, the gathered world
that seeps out when I feel

around anything for too long.
It’s a wondrous sensation, to let
go of yourself and melt into

the scenery. To close both eyes
and let everything’s mess become
you. It’s almost like being born again

if only such a thing were possible.



Joshua Jennifer Espinoza is a trans woman poet living in California. Her work has been featured in The Offing, The Feminist Wire, PEN America, Lambda Literary, Washington Square Review, and elsewhere. She is the author of i'm alive / it hurts / i love it (boost house 2014), and THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS (Civil Coping Mechanisms 2016)
Mark Cugini