joshua jennifer espinoza


I had a life in snow        before the desert years
          envisioning myself

                                        as some kind of mystery
     free from knowledge           of the body

  & words & what stars actually are.
Down in the valley

                                      we found bread & milk
& haze & distance.    We dressed in whatever

held us together & starved for love.
    I was told god would be here      would come

to lick the sin from the earth & replace
             my body with something else.      O, how I

gave a shit back then
                                  not driven by pain but by

the promise of pain.
                  Knowing I could never be

the girl of anything’s dreams      I stayed inside
& spoke only in platitudes.

                                          Sometimes told my stories.
      Often fantasized of nothingness.

Mostly painted my nails & pretended
             this made me free.     There is no such thing

as a person. This I know.
                                    There are only dreams

of embodiment, flashes of life.
When I say woman it trickles out of me

             onto the longing sand      before disappearing
beneath the surface.

                             Nothing will grow here
            for at least a thousand years.