More Americans Believe They’ve Seen a Ghost Than a Trans Person & Quars Poetica by Ally Ang

More Americans Believe They’ve Seen a Ghost Than a Trans Person

“Nothing is more frightening than looking / and loving what you see.”

-Franny Choi

Art by Russ Rubin

two ghosts are making love

in the gender neutral bathroom of a gay bar

atop a throne lined with toilet paper

and grime. a cacophony of limbs

so beautiful, the concrete walls shudder

with envy. you’ve learned all the names

for this: a spectacle, a revolution,

a disgrace, but you never learned to be-

hold what you see before you. two ghosts

heaving their aliveness against

the fractured light, gasping all

the good air into their profane

lungs, sweat stippling

brown throats. breathtaking

as a forest fire. queer

as an unmarked grave.


Quars Poetica

By Ally Ang

Because last night I dreamed I ran

into a friend in the aisles

of a used bookstore, touched

his arm as though neither of us

could die. Because I’m as lonely

as a swan is mean, so lonely

that I would kiss the putrid feet

of anyone who glanced my way.

Because as a child, I hid my smile

in photographs so that my eyes

wouldn’t crinkle into ugly slits, trained

the muscles of my face to stay taut

and demure, wide-eyed, never revealing

too much. One could almost

imagine my brown irises blue. Now,

I wear my gibbous-moon grin

like a rhinestone necklace, gaudy

and astonishing, unafraid

of my slant-eyed joy, a rare thing

to come by in the bowels

of this insatiable empire. Because

the dead burrow into the spaces

between each word I write. Each line

broken and unbroken. I wrap my body

in a weighted blanket meant to imitate

human touch, bask in the SAD lamp’s

artificial light, write another poem.

Delete. Begin again.

Ally Ang is a gaysian poet hailing from the unceded lands of the Western Nehântick people and an MFA candidate at the University of Washington in Seattle. Their work has been published in The Journal, AAWW's The Margins, Muzzle Magazine, Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, and elsewhere. Ally's poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry. Find them at or on Twitter @TheOceanIsGay.

Art by Russ Rubin