Tuesday Poem: Nopalera

Nopalera by Nancy Flores (Spanish and English Translation)


       Cosmic Noplaes by Rodalva

Nopalera le dicen.

Nopalera por India.

Nopalera por fuerte y filosa.

El nopal existe en su frente, y cuando tus palabras intentan tumbarla recuerda que ella existe porque resiste.

El nopal sigue con retoños a través de los siglos y tu todavia rechazas su belleza sencilla.

Con su resplandor te dice a ti y al mundo: nopalera yo soy por mi país de origen, y también en mi país natal.

Nopalera yo soy.

Nopalera she’s called.

Nopalera…an Indian.

Nopalera because she is strong, because she has thorns.

The cactus exists on her face and when your words try to diminish her never forget that she exists because she resists.

The cactus has flowers that grow in full bloom and after centuries you still reject it’s beauty.

With her magnificence she tells you and the world; I am a nopalera because of my country of origin and in the country that saw my birth.

I am nopalera.


This poem was inspired by my great grandmother Maria, a woman who spoke Nahuatl or “Mexicano” before learning Spanish and who taught my mom that indigenous is beautiful, no matter what anyone says. Generations later, in different times and in a different country, the indigenous blood in my veins remains hers, it remains nopalera.

Originally from East Los Angeles, Nancy Flores is a Chicana raised in the midwest who currently resides in between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Aguascalientes Mexico. She has two B.A’s and currently works as a Program Coordinator at Voces de la Frontera-Wisconsin’s leading low-wage worker and immigrant rights organization. She is married, the proud mommy of a Chinese Crested puppy named Kurt Cobain Lopez and her hobbies include blogging, feminist lit, agitating/organizing, and traveling. Check out more of her writing here

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