Kathi Morrison

Self-portrait Boston, 1994
In the Museum of Fine Art,
my father stops in front of a self-
portrait of Frida Kahlo.
He says this is the first time
he has known the artist
to allow herself Beauty
and waits beside the frame
for me to agree.

Ashamed to say
I’ve never seen a Kahlo before,
I lean toward her, absorb
passion that eats paint,
tension that tingles equator-green.

She is no Emily Dickinson,
I answer my father,
but am unsure what I mean –
hair pulled tight, cryptic loves
gone public.  What might I allow
to emerge in my face, my voice?

Who is watching now as I turn
away from them both?

Copyright 1998, Kathi Morrison

Kathi Morrison’s poetry has appeared in The Seattle Review, River City, New York Quarterly, and other journals.  She is an English teacher at Miss Porter's School, a private girls' high school in Farmington, CT.

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