Alabanza | The New Engagement


By Yareliz Mendez-Zamora
Alabanza poetry art


Blessed be the forgotten women, the cursed women, the women who are feared

The ones who know they were born from stolen flesh and blood

(God, did You ever ask Adam for permission to take the bone underneath his


What did You, Almighty, teach man at the moment You reached down

and took something that You felt always belonged to You,

That You had claimed dominion over but rested inside the body of another?

Mujer, you were forged in fire and dreams

and maybe that is why there is anarchy.)

Praise the women who reach from deep within the abyss of anguish and out of


Spin gold and survival, who have joy from breath and memory

Praise the women with the too red-lipstick

The wild hair, the wild eyes, she belongs to no one but herself

Serpents dangle across her naked shoulders and slither up the nape of her neck

Her paradise isn’t in the bitten apple, the Garden her lover so carefully tends

But in the meeting between her thighs, that dark place your father feared and your

mother stood sentry over



The moment I walked through the pews

You expected me to burn, scream, the smell of scorched flesh hanging in the air

(Being honest here, I thought I would burn too.)

Imagine my surprise when it was you with the singed skin

The burning screams

You— the Man created in God’s image—

And I, mujer who comes from Alagranputa and Aleluya,

Walked with chin held high to meet God



This body has men and women carved in the hollow of it’s bones,

Names etched on the soft of my throat,

My thighs have memorized the print of every palm

My tongue remembers the outline of every mouth



This body dances without fear

Tough knuckles, dry skin, narrow eyes

Fingers stretched outwards

Palms turned upwards


My entire body is a prayer that is fulfilled through touch


I am a fallen type of woman

Puta extraordinaire

Loose morals, tight pussy

Can’t catch me

Want you to catch me

Curls, Curves, and Revolutions

There is nothing stronger than my laughter

There is nothing stronger than my will

I walk with generations only my shoulders

The echoes of past are in my face

The child who crossed oceans unwillingly on a slave ship from Africa

The raped indigenous woman who later drowned herself in the river

The Spanish conquistador who died from the very diseases he carried over from his world

They are all alive and living together on my face

How could the Divine not choose me?


You, the type of man to raise his arms during every worship song.

Cries at every alter call

Has private meetings with the Pastors

I can smell the fear that stops your heart when you seek Him in the dark

And can only come face to face with your own disappointment

You absolutely reek of despair

Whisper in my ear about how it feels to be so close to God,

So far away from God

(Do you still pray at midnight?)

Aren’t you the perfect vessel?

(Am I thinking that you are sugar, when you are a pillar of salt?

Either way, you’ll dissolve in the middle of my tongue.)


Why does divinity drip from my lips?

Honey trickle from between my legs?

(Is this the closest that you will get to tasting holiness?

Do you want a taste?

Let me slither up your body

And feed you something Godly)


You should know why your Mother fears me

I was the woman she wanted to be

Could never be, because your father would have smashed her face in

Her father would have disowned her, her mother would have never had the opportunity to

speak to her again

Her eyesight would have never been the same, from the damning blow your father would

have given her

(Do you hit your wife, behind closed doors, and read Leviticus to make you feel better?)


Mujer, this is your homecoming


Mujer, this is your chance


Mujer, you have feet to carry you far away

You are already scattered across the universe

Pieces of you belonging to different people

Who have always been unworthy

This is the time to call all those pieces back

Reclaim them inch by inch

Love your slowly

You are tender too

Beautiful things, dangerous things

Always have the softest


Alabanza, Lazarus has nothing on the type of rising you're about to do

And on your head, the crown you always deserved

This is only going to end in one way, with one word that slips through my teeth--


Yareliz Mendez-Zamora is a daughter of revolutions. Born and raised in Miami, Yareliz grew up listening to her family’s immigration stories and constantly draws inspiration from them. Her family comes from La Tierra de Lagos y Volcanes—Nicaragua. She recently graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in English and History, as well as a Minor in Latin American Studies.

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