Spotlight: The Nopalera Speaks


the grandma would cut nopales from her backyard nopalera. a tower of pencas. the long blade biting its way through the stem. but it was infected. white pimples growing on its shell. when i would pop them. they would release a wave of purple. staining the smooth penca with sin. not too different from the ones on my face. those that scattered the mother’s face. or the grandmother’s. deep and cystic. we were infected. left in the sun to dry out. i’d poke the nopales with my fingers. too afraid to lay by it. its espinas too foreboding. the pimples too similar. our shadows so normal. free from infection. so beautiful and majestic. our bodies. espinados. granudos. we would talk to each other. i would grab the roots from the nopal and plug them into my chest. i would find her pulse. she would find mine. when the grandma finds us. she can’t tell where to incise.

Allyson Jeffredo is a poet, writer, and educator from the Southern Californian deserts. More of her work can be found at