Poetry: migraineurs by Mae Ramirez

Mae Ramirez is a talent to watch—her “migraineurs” reaches into your scalp and pulls out a new name for god with each handful of hair.


momma pulls my hair so hard
i can hear the world in misty shards
maybe i lingered on the sun too long

maybe i’m an hija ingrata    maybe i taste the burning
flesh of scalp, my sister’s    ethereal woodsmoke
mixed with mold    floral dishsoap    human shit

we’re late to school but the all-day throb
means we’re pretty     our ponytails are sleek   tight
so long     we could hang from them

miles and years removed and my head’s still
reeling    i start to glimmer    kaleido-light
gift of aura     psychic bite of vision

in the scintillating rainbow   i believe
this neuro-horrorology more than anything
and i’m a vagabond   a necia   a puta   a daughter

so i’ve seen a lot   my terra-cotta tongue is a heavy
crematorium   i’m muttering to the meatcutter
about my sister again    vomiting whalebones again

just another one of my tantrums
writhing beautifully in the bed
because my ungrateful head told me to

everything is biblical apparition
god tugs the blood vessels in my brain
and she’s so angry    she pulls harder



Mae Ramirez

Mae Ramirez is a Chicanx poet and mother originally from Los Angeles. She holds an MFA from California State University Long Beach and is currently working on her first full-length manuscript, Moonward Delirium. She has been awarded the Writing Salon Scholarship, the Gerald Locklin Writing Prize, and was a finalist in the 2018 Not a Cult Press Poetry competition. In 2020 she was named a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award recipient. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, The Acentos Review, and American Mustard. She resides in Berkeley, CA.

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