“Mandarins Are Prayers, Too” by Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure

I scalp
the orange in my palms, praying
for serenity & wisdom. My thumb stained
by dried, golden blood crying
from under the peel. A subtle spray bounces
to perfume my face. Its aroma reminds
me of a woman I’m not sure I’ve met before.

It feels like incense dancing
to ward off demons creeping
at my window. I taste
the flesh of the baby fruit. Its juices flowing
como un riachuela around my tongue.
It is sweet like ripe guayabas.
It is cool like el campo at night.
It is holy water made of a honey you will never know.



Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from UMBC and is a VONA Voices alumna, having worked with Willie Perdomo and Danez Smith. Tatiana currently performs, facilitates workshops, and hosts events in the DC area, having previously done so across the United States and the Dominican Republic at venues including New York University and The Kennedy Center. You can read her work in The Acentos Review, among other publications. Tatiana is the author of Coconut Curls y Café con Leche (2019) and Despojo (2020).

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