Time-Lapse Video of Trans Woman Collapsing Inward Like a Dying Star

I beg for invisible fire.

Every night I pray to love,
please invent yourself.

I imagine a place after this place
and I laugh quietly to no one
as the hair on my chin
weeds through old makeup.

When I go to sleep
I am vinegar inside clouded glass.
The world comes to an end
when I wake up and wonder
who will be next to me.

Police sirens and coyote howls
blend together in morning’s net.
Once, I walked out past the cars
and stood on a natural rock formation
that seemed placed there to be stood on.
I felt something like kinship.
It was the first time.

Once, I believed god
was a blanket of energy
stretched out around
our most vulnerable

when really,

she’s the sound
of a promise


Copyright © 2020 by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 14, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Many of my poems involve figures who are desperately attempting to invent a means of survival under conditions that seem determined to prevent them from surviving. This poem is concerned with what happens when performing the daily magic of saving oneself becomes too tiring, so that the only remaining option is to scream out the pain, loneliness, and desperation, and allow the collapse to happen. This is a cry for help, one that enacts, through its own existence, proof of self-love and a desire to keep living, despite everything.”
Joshua Jennifer Espinoza