Liv Mammone

OPEN LETTER TO FRIDA KAHLO
 

Dear Frida,

There must be an thousand of us -- bourgeois
gringitas calling your soul from flying with Diego.
But I want to hold hands
with myself as you have done.
I think I have two hearts, like the second you,
remember--all lace and bloodflowered?
But the salt licorice under my breast
slugs out my bedroom window towards--what?
Can you forgive a Gringolandian princess if she claims
kinship of black toes and ivory whorls of scar?
I cut my hair, too, Frida; I was a father's
half son girl. Now my crutches
are fusing to hooves. I'm pushing
some other woman out of me, too, while bedsheets
cover my face. I'm not who I was but you called that birth.
Tobascosweet patron saint; bitter, bright,
plaster-casted butterfly,
teach me to work through pain.
Been wearing these clothes three days, Frida;
no poems, just pills and lead eyelids.
I can't stand, and when I can,
can't get the smell of bedridden off.
I'm a sick girl. I need a Sick Lady Mother.
I want budgie sons and hairless dog daughters.
I want costumes like yours to cover what's withering.
Can I be a dress fluttering  against skyline?
Can you turn me into a pile of fruit, Frida, a watermelon
so open people smell it on canvas?
Tell me how to dance when feet are chopped away.
I used to run in summer, Frida, used to dance and swim
as if the year threw its doors open.
Now they stay painted shut like an inviting, uncut wrist.
Teach me how to grow in the barren.
Call me niña and tell me I can still feed the earth
propped on this pillow?
I see the skeleton over the bed. How did you make him a thin,
jangling brother? Before I knew anything about you, I envied
your proud neck; your say it to my face gaze.
Should've known. How could those be anything
but a crippled woman's eyes?
My legs are blue, Frida. Not the deep breath, hopeful
cerulean of the house in Coyoacán, but a drowning victim’s skin.
What did the water give you, Frida?
How did you lift the brush
when your back was broken?
Can you teach me joy, Frida? Please?


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