I. Mother to Daughter
Ode to Frida Kahlo, Mexican Portrait Artist, 1907-1954
Slow the steel guitar of your voice, nina,
my belly rumbles in a stew of choir notes.
Your feet beating a timpani on waxed floor
boom even in my dreams. Por favor,
little black butterfly, still your swallow-
tailed hands. Their fine arcs dizzy the well
of my faint heart and I canít breathe
the evening air. Deliver me instead,
the goodness of your goodnight prayers:
for maestro moon sticks in the curve
of a stiff back. Can you forgive
these aching eyes? They try to hold you,
filling each cornice of brain in the landscape
of your affections, fervent and vital, but tucked
away, just beyond my grasp.
II. Daughter to Mother
Ode to Matilde Calderon y Gonzalez Kahlo, 1876-1932
mother of Frida Kahlo
Bury your rosary beads. Toss
the prayer book and all its cuckoo
hymns into a pitcher of cervesa.
Momi, in the brown ocean of your eyes,
the cactus flower blooms.
Forget Confessions, Communion, Lent.
Even the Resurrection is full of binds
that cinch to breathless
the tiny circle of your waist. I know,
it is my waist too. Let the saints pray
for our absolution! Let us run like foxes
to burn the wooden pew that marries us
to the Church of Saint John the Baptist
every blazing day of the week.
Copyright 1998, Liz Walsh-Boyd
Liz Walsh-Boyd, a social service worker, and volunteer coordinator for Richard Hugo House, has published in Arnazella, Bellowing Ark, The Panhandler, Waterways, and Switched-on Gutenberg. She studies poetry at the University of Washington Extension Program and started Frida-mania for us.
Thematic Contents / Vol. 3, No. 2
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