Poet Joshua Jennifer Espinoza believes language can be both a medium for transformation as well as a way for us to find our own identity. In her own words, Espinoza writes poetry to better understand herself and her position, but she also writes to honor the history that she's part of. In the poem "Gangrenous Love", we witness the healing process of the souls that are ill from the poisons of toxic love.
gangrenous love fills everything. a mind made blank
by careless hands turns purple in the sun. the fear
of closeness ripens. she had threatened to split her lips
open while the ocean made sounds in the distance.
every crashing wave gave water to the air as an
offering. the boys were off rolling blunts and laughing
too loud to hear all the violence. time stretches
and folds in on itself. time is a body full of damage
that is constantly trying to forget, though it always
remembers on the long drive home. the freeway is
such a beautiful trigger. machines like cold fruit
falling from city to city until one day they find
the soil. the same soil she moved her fingers through
when she thought of the love she gave away. the love
she held onto. all wrong, all backwards, all pus-
covered memory. she slips into something more
comfortable, another reality. somewhere things are okay.
somewhere she is hacking off old limbs and dreaming
of velvety silence.
Originally published in Anomaly #25.
Photos by @Deanastacia.