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.
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.
Originally published by Lambda Literary.
Photos by Drew Wilson.