Mia Leonin Miami. (Caridad Moro-Gronlier)
At age nineteen men translated my body for me:
You. Can’t. Be. White. You
who got some extra lovin’ on you. You,
ham hock booty.
On Troost Avenue, men rubbernecked and crashed,
a five-car pile up from looking at my ass.
And me – head down, eyes glued to cracked sidewalk
face hot with shame. And me –
wearing a red, A-line skirt that hit mid calf.
Years later, my husband explains, You can’t cover that up.
A year after, a lover explains, Men know what’s there,
even if they can’t see it. That’s their second sight, their sixth sense.
Southern folk translated my body for me.
Then Cubans did. Criollita original!
Negra vestido de blanco!
Gracias a la virgin por este culo.
From construction hangars, convertibles, and solares,
they hissed and whined and moaned.
I took a good, long look at my face:
my honey-splattered face, my cowrie-shell face, my calculus-meets-physics face, my Neptune-trined-with-Saturn face, my split-second, gut-instinct, don’t-go-with-him face, my Venus-in-Cancer face, my wanna-burn-every-war-monger-at-the-stake face, my wanna-nurse-every-baby-ever-racked-with-hunger face, my Yeah, I’m-buying-condoms. What-the-fuck-are-you-staring-at? face, my Uh huh, I-wanna-have-sex-and-I’m-not-interested-in-reproduction-so-dispense-with-the-dirty-looks-and-write-the-prescription face, my wanna-put-every-war-monger-on-trial face, my wanna-strip-down-naked-and-stand-in-front-of-a-military tank face, my ven-pa’ca-porque-te-quiero-comer face, my abandonment-issues-for-days face, my inner-child-before-it-was-a-pop-psychology-term face, my cowardly face, my fear-of-retribution face, my please-don’t-take-this-little-piece-of-mountain-I’ve-managed-to-molehill-into-a-beautiful-windowsill-garden face, my I’m-through-with-molehilling face, my turns-out-I-am-the-mountain face.
I took a long, long look at my face
and I decided that it was good.
So I tossed that that mug, that kisser, that visage,
I tossed her to the horizon for safe keeping.
I fixed my gaze on her and I started walking.
This was the beginning of resting bitch face.