Issue: Reimagining / Poetry

Poetry by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza





i don’t want to talk about poetry right now.  i want to rest

in the heaven of your skinless night sky and kiss your

clouds until they rain all over my body. i want to leave

my body and admire what you do to it from afar. i want to

destroy all borders, set fire to every prison, rescue the history

of my blood from the dream of namelessness.

and who were i in that fog? were i the floodlights above

the prairie? were i the women holding our world together?

were i the dying logic of upheaval? were i the mountain

sloping downward ahead of you? i never knew

who i could be til i died for the thousandth time.

til i erased every word i wrote and killed the pen.

til the sun parted the sea in front of my hopeless cause.

til god came down for one last fuck and run.

in the warm of my madness i found my voice stolen

from my throat and replaced with a performance.

i fell in love with that colonized sound

and ate pills in front of the silent television.

there was wind on the hill so i thought i was fine.

there was city lights laughing at the way i tried

to bring them to life in verse.

it’s been years and years and years and years and years

and i don’t want to talk about poetry anymore.

i want to glide back into the sound of bodies

imagining bodies outside themselves.





the threat was always implicit.

the man said our hands were alike

and that was why i should be

the same as him—i shuddered in place

beneath the skylight and reached

up to no avail. there were pieces

of me that made sense

as long as they remained in pieces.

there were days i blackened

my eyes and drew blood

on my fingers

just to highlight the difference

between a name and a body

or a body and a soul.

the man saw this and laughed

a nervous laughter.

by the time he finished killing

me i had become something





Joshua Jennifer Espinoza is a trans woman poet living in California. She has been featured in The Offing, PEN America, The Feminist Wire, and elsewhere; in addition, she was awarded a Pushcart Prize for her poem I DREAM OF HORSES EATING COPS. Her full-length collection THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS was recently published by Civil Coping Mechanisms.


Featured Image © Natasha Marin. 12 (Video Still): I engaged in a 1 year social media experiment designed to stimulate infatuation between artists living thousands of miles apart. These are stills from videos from this project (