Two Poems by Joan Angel Estrada


Summer wants me fully grown and tender
tendergrown and short haired. I cut myself loose
fall right into the warm and broken mouths
of my 3 ex-girlfriends, last of which was
Me. Well, Julian of Norwich got sick
and found the world in a hazelnut,
found love thumping its hind legs
through the shell. Well, I got better
and found my masculinity in a tiny
rubber horse, found what drowns me
in 3 specks of light. Well, winter
wants me half-shorn and beautiful.
I was always one for running away;
spring is what happens to the princes
that want to swallow rainfall.
Well, whatever: don’t you think
I look even prettier than before?
Kid, this is what
Butch looks like: sticking your
tongue through autumn and
seeing stars in the veins of



It’s Thursday and I’m bent
over the bathroom sink,
trying to fix a bad cut.
they always see my bad haircuts
for what they are: a paper-mache ceiling
I don’t let anybody break through but their
drunk self on the roof, old Docs dangling
through a hole that bleeds with spring’s light.
they’re cross legged on the floor,
sporting a bright and brave face, letting
their tendergrown hair fall into a bucket.
I never fall too far from them, really,
because I’m always trying to get back
to the transness that birthed me
so freakishly beautiful is lipstick on
lipstick is a smattering of sun-dried
tomatoes on dusk – our kinds of lips
hardly move for anything other than
big love and the mottled want
that manages to scrape through
when we fall through the city’s pipes
and song. I want to be handsome,
real handsome and I want to get all
pretty and handsome for the love of my life
who understands this performance
is no small thing and quietly smiles
when they rub their fingers over my neck –
feel the sound of my hydrangea voice
rushing through like blood and water
and sweetness. when they look at me
there are one too many genders in my heart,
all unbearable spring light: touch me. touch me.
touch me before the paints are one color.
touch me afterwards, too. touch me
when there’s nothing to touch. touch me
when desire finally pushes its way
through my soft scalp and is no longer
the jagged bone I know it to be.
touch me when the ground
gives way for the last time.
“You’re pretty handsome with that
deep voice of yours, aren’t you?
Almost makes up for the bad cut,” they say.
Touch me, I say.


Joan Angel Estrada is a trans writer currently residing in Southern California. His work has been published in the Santa Ana River Review and in Sunday Mornings at the River. You can find him thinking about Joan of Arc or on Instagram @rockingoceans.