Elena Ramirez-Gorski

Three Poems


Elena Ramirez-Gorski is a Chicana writer from Adrian, Michigan. She is currently an undergraduate at the University of Michigan studying Creative Writing and Literature as well as Latina/o Studies. She has work forthcoming in Split Lip Magazine and These Poems Are Not What They Seem, an anthology of Twin Peaks poetry by APEP Publications. 

Twitter: @ERamirezGorski



It’s hard to forget the sound of a louse

exoskeleton cracking between your


thumb nails and gushing its blood/

your blood so brazenly over your palm.


My abuelito says that you aren’t really

Mexican-American until you’ve had piojos.


My mother says you aren’t really

Mexican-American until you can’t get rid of piojos.


You aren’t until you are baking and melting the

synthetic fibers of your favorite sweaters in the dryer,


or sleeping with a scalp smothered in mayonnaise

or olive oil or vinegar, or until


you can’t tell if you are killing the pests

or marinating them to perfection.


You aren’t really Mexican-American

until you’ve given up and love the beast


that’s sucking you dry.



This is for the goth latina bitches


my spooky chicas always dye

their hair from natural

black to unnatural black


their grandmas wouldn’t let them read

harry potter because no vas a traer that diablo

mierda en this house, pendeja


the chicas who love their brown skin but

resent that they’ll never rock vampire makeup


the ones who cut their bangs too short

over the bathroom sink

before a show


who are teased for listening

to that white people music

but just roll their eyes and remind themselves of

alice bag, the plugz, los illegals,

y que no hay nada más chicana de ser una punk


the girls cursed to fall for white boys

with veiny arms and druggy eyes

who leave the family parties

asking why they have to be so loud


las punks, las locas,

las brujas, las darketas,

las ‘otras’


the girls who fashion their own

ouija boards from cardboard and

scotch tape, and sit around it

motionless all night,

too badly wanting to believe

they aren’t alone


Miss America


“When these southern whites see these
pretty Mexican girls, they become excited —
they are not used to girls so pretty.”

       -Eyewitness on the Zoot Suit Riots


My mom was 16

when her boss’s khakis fell to his ankles

                                                                                                                   in the Domino’s freezer

                                                                                                                   waiting for her with a smile

                       to see her shocked & scared,

                       waiting to say ‘don’t be.’

                                                                                            He had seen her

             thick Selena lips

              & J-Lo hips.

                                                                                                                   He’d heard about girls like her.


My sister was 15

when a rusted pickup followed her

                                                                                                                   all the way home,


                                                                     dreaming out loud

                                                                     of fistfuls

                                                                                                                                          of her long dark hair.


My cousin was 12

when her body was found

                                                                                                                                                       naked & hollow in a ditch.

                                                                                            The whole city


                       said she was always

                       too pretty.


They engraved Miss America onto her headstone.

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