Issue 24 / Winter 2021 / Special Issue: Pleasure
a full face of makeup to eat dinner with the girls I’ve known
since they each had braces. The lighting is bad. We’re at
Red Lobster or Friday’s or Carrabba’s, but Ulta had a sale.
My basket overflowing with palettes & products. I admit
I bought too much, but I am practical & I need to use
every ounce, so I can justify why I need that new Fenty Beauty.
my size Large two-piece bikini to the beach. Not in Miami. No
coverup because my body is mine & it works hard & it deserves
to taste the freshly baked heat of the sun & it deserves to melt
into the sticky sand & it deserves to drip from the ocean’s sweat.
& my body is free. & femme bodies are free. & these bodies deserve
to run & to fly & to live, so I will not suffocate a body trying to breathe.
love with the lights on. I understand clothed cuddles can’t hide
the rolls resident to these hips. My batida thighs always present
on my sides whether visible or not. I’m smart, so I know
darkness will not shrink me. I know cellulite is immortal. & I know
I ate the empanadilla yesterday & the Oreos today & I’m not sorry
because my joy is my joy & I will love that over shame.
a fellow artist even though I don’t vibe with her spirit. She speaks
a different language than me, but I respect her art. I recognize
her work is dope & she’s a woman & she’s of color & we need
sisterhood over anything. & I respect her art. & I recognize
her words should be heard. Her vision expressed. & I recognize
if I do not pass the mic, then I have no place here. She is a sister.
little girls & growing girls & grown girls they are beautiful. Invoking
a glow deep from veins seeded in light but sprouted from doubt.
& I tell them the vastness of this universe we call home. A limitless
realm we control with the magic pushing breath through limbs, dancing
words from throats, & melting palms into palms because we need
sisterhood over anything. & I tell them diamonds do not crack.
my intelligence & my ability & my strength & my place because
why not? I am all this & more. I anoint myself goddess.
I crown myself empress. I name myself heaven because I am
sea of knowledge & power & energy unmatched by man. I sit
next to an army of femmes reshaping histories untold & we scream
our truths on paper & in voice & in unison unbroken.
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).