I’M NOT A VIRGIN BUT

I want to appear to you in sandwiches,
water markings on the ceiling,
mold above the toilet,
patterns in woven baskets,
a scatterplot depicting
the correlation between people who
lick their ice cream & people who bite
their ice cream & whether or not they
lie about how many books they’ve read.

I want you to gather strangers around
the image of me because you’ve gotta
make sure it’s me & not a trick
your eyes are playing on you.

& I want the strangers to confirm your vision,
I want them to tell tales about me,
I want endless products in the shape of me
available in delis & on the side of the road,
I want to be the one Abuelita’s light candles beneath
& I want to be the picture on the candle, stretched out
& replicated, I want to be the one who gets daughters
into colleges with full rides,
brings the Go-Fund-Me page to completion,
gets shoved
into the backpack during the big flood,
gets hanged
from doorknobs in new apartments
as a sign of protection, as a sign that
whoever lives there is loved

I want everyone to believe in me eventually
but I want it to be you
who finds me, plain as day,
blooming among the flowers,
shining from the hill,
taking shape everywhere I shouldn’t,
obvious & made of light.

Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a nationally-recognized writer & performer living in New York City. Her Amazon-best-selling book Peluda (Button poetry) explores, interrogates and redefines the intersections of Latina identity, feminism, hair removal & what it means to belong. Her work has been featured in REMEZCLA, The Guardian, Vulture, Bustle, Glamour Magazine, The Huffington Post, Muzzle Magazine, The Visible Poetry Project, The Adroit Journal, and BBC Mundo. She is an MFA candidate at New York University where she teaches.