Nuestra Señora de Tennessee Supplicates Coatlalopeuh by Irène Mathieu

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

"La Virgen de Guadalupe's Indian name is Coatlalopeuh. Coatlalopeuh is descended from, or is an aspect of, earlier Mesoamerican fertility and Earth goddesses. The earliest is Coatlicue.… Before the change to male dominance, Coatlicue, the Lady of the Serpent Skirt, contained and balanced dualities of male and female, light and dark, life and death." — Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa

the sun dusts to dust-colored
every rustling thing
and every unmoving metal scrap
on the frontera which is nowhere
near a border.
the dust-colored grass wrangles
up through asphalt
the dust-colored billboards:
your ad here. call Tiffani.
advertise here.
the dust-colored pockmarks
on her teeth
supermercado y carnicería
discount tobacco
latino america auto sales
church of the
church of the
church of the
pebble-biting grit-fisted niñas
with ponytails like switches
church of the
quick-eyed boys
sullen-eyed boys
eyes behind bent blinds
hands covered in dust
church of the
hands covered in dust.
discount tobacco
video city
police SUVs shiny as toys
beside a scab-colored pick-up
church of the
advance cash title loans.
ten in a dust-colored trailer.
down the road is
miracle baptist church
church of the
frontera is dusted over
with peeling sideboards
with a very small cockroach
you almost don’t notice.
the eight children drunk off sugar
pretending this isn’t
the edge of the world
like they don’t toe a frontera
and have dust-colored dreams.



Irène Mathieu is a writer and medical student at Vanderbilt University. Before medical school she studied International Relations at the College of William and Mary and completed a Fulbright Fellowship in the Dominican Republic. Irène’s poetry, prose, and photography can be found in The Caribbean Writer, the Lindenwood Review, Muzzle Magazine, qarrtsiluni, Extract(s), So to Speak, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Love Insha'Allah and other publications. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her poetry chapbook the galaxy of origins is forthcoming in 2014 from Dancing Girl Press. You can read her blog and follow her on Twitter.