Alan Pelaez Lopez is an Afro-Indigenous artist and visionary from Oaxaca, México. Alumni of VONA/Voices and CultureStrike’s UndocuWriting, Alan’s poetry and nonfiction essays have been influenced by growing up Black, poor, queer, and undocumented. Their work appears in Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Vinyl Poetry, Everyday Feminism, Splinter News, The Feminist Wire and more. They have also been named one of “10 Poets for the Revolution” in The Best American Poetry Blog, and one of “10 Up And Coming Latinx Poets You Need To Know” by Remezcla.
An Encounter With My Heart
elders have always told me to be specific—
to identify & point to the place of ache.
my right index finger always pointed
to my head, eyes, & upper back.
corazón, i didn’t realize that when you ached,
our pain migrated to different cells of our body.
i wear a ring on my index finger
bought from another ndn in Oakland
thinking it would help with precision.
how naïve to believe that i understood you
without ever conversing with you, corazón.
this medicine disguised as a ring
has fallen off so many times that
i finally found my ignorance.
corazón, thank you for being so gentle;
your tenderness in the form of headache
eye-ache & backache will no longer go unnoticed.
this ring does not feel loose—
i know that it fits quite well.
querido corazón, I am ready to feel you.
no need to travel to my digits
& make this medicine
mistaken as object, fall.
today, i point to you, corazón,
& proudly testify:
it hurts here // it hurts
here // it hurts // here.