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María De Los Ángeles Pineda is dreaming of teeth

half- jaws snapping at her big toe                   pulling the covers

                    forcing her to feel the cool mountain wind

she has always preferred her city of asphalt              over houses build in mud

thousands of bits of enamel taunting from the kitchen table

chattering in her soup                                     rage boiling over

gripping the noodles                           perfectly forming a floating number 43

the broth                     bitter


María De Los Ángeles Pineda is finding teeth in her make up

pastel yellow blue and pink                            slowly turning brown

like the skin of the young men she never wanted to date in high school

red like                                                the sidewalks on September 26th when

the rebellious received last rites from a rainstorm

molars hiding in her shoes                               hopping into handbags

incisors teaming up                   dragging 43 blood soaked book bags into her living room

the bags                       still warm


María De Los Ángeles Pineda is reading a dream interpretation book

Teeth: imperishable, able to survive narco- inspired Iguala police bullets,


                                                                        of an otherwise unrecognizable body


Teeth: indestructible messengers of the dead, resist effects

                                    of gasoline-driven fires and

            Cocula mountain landfill decomposition,

                                    hold treasures of information, make for

                                                                                    the best tattle- tales


Teeth: dirt and ash covered immortal remains of

43 Ayotzinapa Normalistas

doing exactly what they were taught to do

teach dissidence                      call Justicia

                                                            shift Guerrero into the hands of El Pueblo

                obreros            gritando

¡Ya                  me                  cansé!

Teeth: oracles,

telling their story for years to come



*For the  43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School who went missing on September 26, 2014 in Iguala, Mexico after engaging in a protest for educational reforms and disrupting a public reception held by Mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife María De Los Ángeles Pineda. Only one of the missing students, Alexander Mora, has been confirmed dead. This poem was first published as part of the NACLA poetry series and in Hyperallergic.com in 2014 to bring attention to this tragedy.

© Peggy Robles-Alvarado. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 24 April 2015.