I Am the Faceless Woman on the Cover of Your Novel

Two poems by Elena Ramirez-Gorski

woman in silhouette standing before a city

I Am the Faceless Woman on the Cover of Your Novel

POC Book Cover Model

I feel the most brown facing
a solid, bright background
that seduces preteens
at the Scholastic fair. My long
black-as-licorice braids with their
sweet virginal shine beg for
pity, are maybe a metaphor
for tradition, repression, machismo,
all the miserable Mexican girls that need
to be saved from Mexican men.

I’ve portrayed all kinds
of Mexicans: Puerto Ricans,
Guatemalans, Peruvians, and even
a few Chinese. It’s easy when you’re
faceless: all smooth, tan skin
and thick hair, for a few blue
moon romance novels,
a wide set of hips.

Most days are great.
My fiance says I’m effortless
to love, the way I am
modest and mute and not
too dark, how when he presses
his palm to the plane
of my skin, its indent
remains like modeling clay.

Other days, all I know
are the eyes burning
through the back of my head,
and for a sure second, a pair
of my own burning within
it. If I were to tear
away this caramel-colored
membrane to find those
eyes blue and lashes pale or
to find just orificeless pulp,
I might just keep digging.

In my country

the streets are paved in gold-
plated hoops taken out,
tossed aside the night before.
The sea shimmers like glass
shattered out of windshields.

Here, acrylics only come stilettoed.
Here, mamacitas only come mercurial.

In my country, there is no night
without a thousand slashed tires
and there is no morning
without deflated women
asking you to fill them.

Where I’m from, we have no need
for the sun or the moon because
the women are always burning
some cabron’s shit in backyard bonfires.

The women are always burning
and begging to be held,

but don’t all white boys have a bit
of a pyromaniac streak?
And don’t we make you feel brave?
And don’t you think
It’s better that way?

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