H. Melt Credit: Mercedes Zapata


where I can get my nails done

with my mom, without

toxic chemicals

let me change

in the locker room

soak in the jacuzzi tub

cool down in the pool

with a strawberry daiquiri

let me sweat in the sauna

& in the back room where

glory holes are filled

with fingers

let there be deep tissue

massages, drag bingo

on mondays, clothing

swaps on Tuesdays

let there be a hair salon

sliding scale electrolysis

& lavender shampoo

let there be eyeliner tutorials

tips on beard trimming

& preventing hair loss

let there be an abundance

of ferns, aloe plants for

soothing scars &

a weeping willow

outside our doors

let us be beautiful

on our own terms.

There Are Trans People Here by H. Melt is available from Haymarket Books, haymarketbooks.org


For my 29th birthday, I went to Philadelphia

where my grandparents met at Temple University

& my great aunt was a docent at the art museum

& my great grandmother lived by Rittenhouse Square

which I visit in the rain, walking under my

purple umbrella, pausing at the fountain

reading off my phone, Philly’s first

pride parade began right here

I walk a block to Dewey’s Diner

to visit my trancestors

who were denied service

& arrested here in 1965

my nana lived so close

she could’ve heard the protests

or waved to me from her window

as River snapped a picture of me

in front of the bronze plaque

where Dewey’s previously sat

now it is a construction site

most of my relatives are gone

but the marches & the sit-ins

& the riots must continue.