stephanie concepcion ramirez




The sound of the engine drowns out some of her words but she keeps going with the story. I’ve heard this one before but to hear her voice crack while she fights back tears I can’t interrupt to inform her of that.

Let her say what she has to say over and over again until perhaps one day her voice won’t do that thing, you know? That thing that makes it sound like there is no ground. Until she finally feels like she has control over this thing that happened to her. Until it doesn’t hurt her anymore.

The engine needs to be tended to and the shocks could be replaced but pothole after pothole she keeps going on and on and on. Her rosaries are tangled amongst each other on the rearview and Jesus no longer hangs on His cross that’s glued on the dash. He rolls left and right with his arms spread open as we make our way through the city.

There.  He even prays for her to stop. 





I remember wanting so much more from clouds

than the droplets that take up so much space

Aimlessly and freely making way through the inexhaustible sky

I remember thinking I would one day get to the bottom of their plump dense curves

Asking others what they could be made of

A formulaic response and quick turn to reality was enough to snap me out

of my wondering

The daydreams of being submerged in all they could be composed of

Engulfed in possibly knowing the magic of what keeps them afloat

despite their ability to hold the next storm over the horizon

I remember being filled with hope and holding my breath as I flew towards them

getting closer and closer only to be met with disappointment of falling for the illusion of a cloud


“The trick to everything is: acting like you belong,” he said.

Make Believe. I’m sure she had a moment where that was what she felt she had to do and maybe she reminded herself of that every day for the next twenty years. I’m sure she said it over and over again in her head with every step she took that led her further and further from that fence. People passing by laughing and carrying on in a language that she couldn’t anchor herself in.

She’s floating.

Cars fly by so fast that her pant legs are glued to her shins and sounds are blaring from the speakers shaking the ground she’s standing on.

She’s floating.

She feels the ground again. Act like you belong. Just blend in. Lose everything about you that makes you you, that made you you. Everything before this moment - forget. Just blend in. Just blend in until you disappear. 


Make Believe.
She buys me whole, takes me home and unravels me onto the table. The front of me exposed as she lays her hands across me to flatten me out. I’m bare to the fluorescent lights in the room and the cold air blowing from the vent above me. I can see the dust of me as it falls over both of us, but she seems unbothered by my undoing.  Her pupils dilated due to her focus and concentration but occasionally she takes breaks to watch something on her television screen that sits on top of her plastic drawers that hold more thread and string than one could ever imagine in almost every color known to man, just a few feet from her table. She’s using her yardstick to ensure I am the size that she needs and takes her cold sharp scissors that make slicing noises as they open well before she cuts anything. She knows exactly how much to take and how much to leave of me. She knows the job I need to complete because I heard her conversing with a woman. She mentioned then, something of what would become of me.

A dress? A cushion?

A slip?

She uses her hand again to flatten my corners and pushes me upward to align me with the edge of the table. My whole being is dependent on how much she takes off and how much she leaves on and how she will shape and contort me into the final product. From there, I am left to make the best of whatever could be left of me. She’s made her line marks along me with her white chalk stub and puts the cold blades to my edges. Slicing through me like a shark in water with no hesitation. My edges give into the ice-cold blades and show no sign of resistance against them. The fibers of my being give way and end up on the right or the wrong side of the blades. With her scissors still in her hand’s grip she grabs the edges that she has cut and effortlessly tosses them in the air. There they go, gracefully flying like banderas in the wind. It doesn’t seem to hurt or faze me, as I am completely vulnerable to what she could do to me. Scraps and scraps and scraps of me on the floor, making very little to no sound as they find their way down by her feet. They cross each other, overlap each other and clumsily drape each other, while the dogs sniff and blow air and lick their wet noses after they've stepped all over me. She seems to have taken quite a bit off. I trust she knows what to leave as valuable and what should be tossed depending of its importance to what I will become. It’s as if she is seeing with touching, feeling her way and knowing by what is in her hand how much to cut and how much to toss. She’s done this before – in fact, for many many years.
She cuts me into a shape and more scraps of me end up beneath her.

These I’m sure could be of use. There’s far too much on the floor that is being deemed unnecessary. How could she possibly throw so much of me away? These pieces still matter - you paid for these pieces. Surely you could keep these in a bag somewhere. Sweep them up and dust them off and fold them into a plastic bag like the one I came in. It wouldn’t take too much space, could it? i promise you i won’t.

Before you know it, I am finished. Standing on her table and she turns me this way and that, reexamining every stitch and every tuck. Above it all I am beautiful. I know it. She knows it. My colors are radiant and I’m sure I will be the envy of everything in whatever room I am placed within. I will sit proudly knowing that she did it all and that I allowed myself to be completely at the mercy of her hand.