Trace Peterson


My audience falls away, but my audience gets stronger. I am not writing for anyone, but I am writing for you. I am simultaneously a solid a liquid and a gas and hue. My friends fade but my friends are everywhere and intimately real. No one is listening but everyone is listening. I am invisible but I am unavoidable. I am visible but I am a ghostbuster. My world got smaller but my environment got enormous. Awnings try to shade me but I slip by without stepping under them. This sentence has been erased but the sentence bled through and stained the garment permanently first. I am squeezed into a tiny container and I am too vast for you to see all of at once. I am a pectoral muscle and I am a breast. I cancelled my subscriptions but Vogue is still arriving monthly. My acronyms have multiple referents while moonlighting as neologisms. I am an ampersand and I am a pronoun. Parkas protect me from rain but I am the rain pouring over everyone. I am more serious than SRS. Cupcakes can just go ahead and eat me. Milliseconds of lust for a warm embrace into view I freeze. Pantsuits flee from my pantsuit. I am a woman and an opening of discourse petulance amphora kraken. I dilate but I concentrate. I emerge victorious having lost things unnoticed and unappreciated from the swamp of eminent domain. I pay the fee that I am too poor to pay. I climb the side of an idea that has a crush on my molten heart. I am a body trapped in a book that is a book trapped in a body. My pulse races through a low blood pressure front to yeast rising. This sentence is final as in completely incomplete. I am a swollen clit at an oblique angle to reality sparks of code. I am nobody but I am a body built by ignorance and refusal. I am somebody but the cloud opens and rains on cue. I am a sheep in wolf’s clothing. My pen that cannot write keeps flowing ink from an empty impetus. My minimalist transverse intersection can beat up your honors student. I lick stamps without a tongue and send letters I will never mail. My enervated line dredges real opinion from the muck and slime. I exist and you may have imagined me. My feet sweat without a mermaid net. I am naturalistic and I am a stranger. My hips envelop this sentence as my torso twists toward your stormfront. I pulverize wholeness anticipating completeness. I am a she whose parking spot is continually nabbed by a faster more unlikely car. I am irresistable but too many calories to consume in one sitting. Burned by the scorched earth policy, I grow back flame-retardant. I gaze out the window I broke through a brick wall with words. I can see nothing that happens anywhere but everything I need to thrive. Forbidden apples fall upward in serpentine lines of animosity and charm. I will never stop stopping. I belong here, where I cannot not appear.

Trace Peterson is a trans woman poet critic. The author of Since I Moved In (Chax Press) and numerous chapbooks, she is Editor/Publisher of the Lammy-winning Press EOAGH Books, co-editor of the anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books), and co-editor of Arrive on Wave: Collected Poems of Gil Ott which was just published this fall by Chax Press. She currently teaches a course in Transgender Poetry at Hunter College and a workshop titled “Learning From Trans Poets” at The Poetry Project, NYC.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.