This week, a poem by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza.


What It Takes To Leave A House


First you breathe. This sounds easy,
but trust me—it isn’t. The air seems

to get in its own way and your skin
pulls itself taut over your muscles. So

find a window. This can be anything
you want. A soft feeling. A memory

of a youth spent wandering. The
empty space and broken glass where

a window used to be. Now reach
through and feel movement. See the

trees bending and swaying while birds
make the most of things. Observe

the way light changes a scene. Yes,
change, like loss, like fear of a new

reality when you had just finished
learning to survive this one. Hold

the fear. Tear into it and taste it. Let
it dribble in streaks of blue down

your chin and neck and bathe in it.
Your body will do what it will do.

It will accept the air no matter how
thick it becomes. You will reach

for a door and suddenly you’ll be
out in the wind touching all the

horribly beautiful things. You’ll say
this moment is not my enemy and

sometimes you’ll believe it.


JOSHUA JENNIFER ESPINOZA is a trans woman poet living in California. Her work has been featured in The Offing, The Feminist Wire, PEN America, and elsewhere. Her first book of poetry i’m alive / it hurts / i love it was released by boost house in 2014, and her latest collection THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2016.

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