washington, d.c.

Flickering Strings of Love, Paul Knight

  1. i see

the guiding vision warping, changing

“we stand in solidarity with sex workers’ rights movements” 


“we stand in solidarity with all those exploited for sex and labor”

a lone trans pride flag,

trying to wave at me

from where it’s drowning in a sea of pink, 

and pink and pink and 

pink hats, cat-eared

when i blink, their afterimage stamps the inside of my eyelids,

once-comforting darkness lit blazing bright

on my right:


on my left: 


  1. i feel

the slick edge of a program,

held out to me by a woman campaigning for immigrants’ rights.

before i can get a grip, she is swept away

by a tidal wave of white skin

stampeding to see madonna

letters emblazoned on my chest:

“she wants the destruction of the patriarchy”

she burns through the material, searing my skin

all the way to the bone

my trans sisters,

they are like ghosts. 

overlooked, they’re losing substance.

we link hands and i barely feel it.

cold wind on my face

the warmth i usually feel in women’s presence has left me.

i’m freezing solid, 

turning to stone.

  1. i hear

gloria steinem

she stutters, umms; for eleven minutes,

she reminds us we are women, full stop, no need to split hairs.

the crowd is silent, hushed. they hang on her every word, reverent.

janet mock

she is compelling, captivating; for four and a half minutes,

she speaks of intersectional experience, of unity based on respect for difference.

the crowd is chanting, is noisy, is not paying attention. they drown her out.

when i comment on this, there it is.

a sibilant hiss: 


  1. i smell 

a miasma of street vendor food,

prices hiked sky-high

portable toilets, stinking 

of the offerings – 

the ashes of your first training bra, 

mixed with a quarter cup of menstrual blood – 

laid on the step, granting access to those who seek entry

to this blue-plastic sanctuary

(a sprinkling of dried placenta is optional, 

contingent on the motherhood status 

of the woman shitting out her $10 hot dog)

  1. i taste




About the Author

Hannah Truslow – Virginia Commonwealth University

Hannah Truslow is a nonbinary lesbian from Salem, Virginia. They graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2019 with dual degrees in English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Their poem “washington, d.c.,” was first published in the Fall 2018 issue of Amendment Literary and Art Journal.

About the Artist

Paul Knight · Canisius College

Paul Knight is a digital arts major at Canisius College, focusing on photography, videography and graphic design. “Flickering Strings of Love” first appeared in Quadrangle. More of his work can be seen on Instagram at @paullknight.

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