COAX COATLICUE ❋ Abra Gist
The feathered Serpent Goddess, Coatlicue
visited me once on the mountain.
Until that day, I thought I was just another
chicana – or a gringa to mi familia
Raised north of the border…three generations
removed from mi tierra madre.
Three shades lighter than mi gente
Which means you don’t fit in
on either side.
She crept into my dreams tres veces
On the hillside while “they”
gently rocked my hamaca
back and forth and I fell into a peaceful sleep.
I didn’t remember the dream, just the laughing.
The giggles of hijos or espíritus or
I never found out who “they” were
but at breakfast the next day,
a meager meal of frijoles negros, avena con leche,
y pan quesadilla y café
covered the table and the topic of conversation was
me and mis suenos.
Did they visit you?
No les dije nada.
I told them nothing.
La otra vez en mi sueno,
Coatlicue slithered off the mountain just
before I realized she was the mountain.
Coiled up, layer upon layer, vertebrae upon vertebrae.
Her eyes glowing like lava and
watching me all the way until she
was behind the mirror in the room I was borrowing
for the week. She watched me sleeping
her split tongue tickling the glass.
Her words did not come to me in English, or Spanish,
but an indigenous language I
once heard my Abuelo reciting at a funeral.
My serpentine messenger reminded
and then prophesized
first in Nahuatl
then switched to Spanish
when she saw I could not understand:
Un buen presagio o un mal presagio.
In a past life, in a half life, I’d had two lovers:
One who was honorable and true
and one who had killed me.
“¿Cuál encontré en esta vida?”
Which one did I meet in this life?
Her tongue shot like a dagger towards my forehead
and everything went black.
And just like that I was in
Sweat collected at my temples and made
its way down into my ears and I thought I could hear
the ocean. An ocean beating upon a black sanded beach,
black with volcanic ash and hot to the touch,
because it was just birthed that very morning.
My tanned beige skin laid on this new progeny
Coatlicue had called into being.
Floating inches above my stomach
she recited her blessings over me
as her scales and feathers fell around me
her claws peeling my skin to reveal a new layer.
Her chants were inaudible
medicinal ancestral frequencies.
She pulled out my heart and showed me
where it had been fractured. Lodged inside
was a tiny golden egg.
Instinctively, I opened my mouth.
Her claws shoved the egg in, and I felt it
Slide down my throat
burning like fire
burning like that beach
burning like a flame had finally been lit inside me.
At her command,
I sang and
I slithered and
I opened my
wings and flew into the sky
Never to return.
Mochihua: to happen
Mochihua: to become
Mochihua: to turn into
Mochipa: always and forever