some john thought
I owed him my foot.
blood was spilled. can’t
you tell? I trip

over my own steps
and remember I
wasn’t born but
raised. thinged

so many times
I almost slit
my wrists but
instead I said
I could

do better- a blowjob
machine. a dead women’s
reason to fight. a dead
man’s discarded

child. accept

I have me right now.

Joshua Merchant

Joshua Merchant is a native of East Oakland exploring what it means to be human. A lot of what they explore is in the realm of love and what it means while processing trauma, loss, heartbreak. They feel as though as a people, especially those of us more marginalized than others, it has become too common to deny access to our true source of power as a means of feeling powerful. However, they’ve come to recognize with harsh lessons and divine grace that without showing up for ourselves and each other, everything else is null and void. You can find their work in Anvil Tongue, Spiritus Mundi Review, Rigorous Mag, and elsewhere.