Lupi the Rattlesnake

Written by Guadalupe Vial Ulloa

I stand up in a foreign room 

In this icy continent so far from mine, 

and I cry thinking of all the ones

that I left behind in burning land. 

I talk in a strange tongue 

a language that makes my throat burn, 

my feet hurt all day long 

by the stairs I met two weeks ago. 

I am no one, 

not a friend or a daughter, 

nor a lover or a sister. 

Just a mispronounced name in the system. 

New names, 

new culture. 

Old habits, 

old torture.


my best friend since first grade, 

the reason I lost a tooth 

and the reason I learned English. 


the scars I try to hide, 

the reminder of a horrible past 

of secrets that were thrown at me without being asked. 


I’m an alien in a town of humans. 

No name, no history. 

My language, my weakness.



died in an airplane flying to Canada. 

Lupi took her shell 

shed her skin like a snake. 

She now slithers 

between the rattlesnakes

she warns the deer 

but they do not seem to care 

Too late 

they’re poisoned, 

the bite taken 

the bond thickens. 




and cheater. 

First Circle: 

Hanging between two worlds culture or education 

past or future. 

Second Circle: 

Everyone has a label 

everything has a name. 

What is mine? Where do I stand?

Third Circle: 

No breakfast, too much for lunch I look fat 

no dinner tonight. 

Fourth Circle: 

Will they steal my ideas? 

my words, my property 

I cannot trust nobody. 

Fifth Circle: 

Do you have a problem with my accent? You do not know our history, 

our struggle and suffering. 

Sixth Circle: 

Give my back to the church 

my face to God 

Am I Judas, or am I an individual? 

Seventh Circle: 

I use hard words 

in an attempt at dominance.

Nobody can bring me down. 

Eight Circle: 

Am I white, or am I not? 

Does my skin deny my nationality? Do my veins show a sign of colonialism? 

Ninth Circle: 

They are in pain, 

and I left them. 

Beaten while I am educated. 

How can I try to make their pain disappear? I forget about the mapping assignment I need to go back 

I need to save them. 

But what will be of me? 

Of the people that I save in my dreams? if I don’t come back 

Am I sentencing my people to death? I drift asleep with dark clouds over my head

and wake up excited for a new day. 

The letters dance through the rooms 

bringing colour and music. 

They are a childhood dream come true the stars that yesterday seemed so far away are today on my hands. 

A reality I thought I would never live. 

Fiat Lux 

“Let there be light.” 

The light goes through my body 

as the blood that one day dripped from my veins 

It burns in the best way, 

like alcohol down my throat. 


is the best name.  

Here I am not a victim, 

of the brother who abused my body. 

But a survivor, 

of the challenges God has given me.

I cannot escape my trauma, 

his handprints seem marked on my body. My childhood was stripped away from me for years, but my adulthood will not be taken away. 

The darkness lifts when I sit down 

in the room of deer 

where the letters dance 

where I am nobody. 

This is my adventure, 

My epic poem 

Of an epic life, 

I will build for myself.

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