Tobias Seamon


So, mere days removed from the removal
of her leg, they took Frida
Kahlo within
the confines of her bed to the one and only solo

show of her works ever held in Mexico City,
her home. Papier-mache
festooned the canopy, the headboard was painted with

portraits, and Kahlo herself, drunk, an addict,
and delivered wearing the raiments of an Aztec
queen in the center of the exhibition, laughed with
the (finally!)

recognition, striving against the ghost pains,
memories of what (miscarried) children had been
on the bloody sunset altars of the past,

memories of beds with blood, of Kahlo, (always,
always Kahlo) heart between two selves,
scissors cutting the artery, or black

faced monkeys (all those lovers taken, hers,
Diego's) at every shoulder, but still the center of
the exhibition
carried on her own Aztec altar, the ghost

pains tucked beneath coverlets and pills, her life
taken (suicide? yes? no?) months away,
carried into a room of what must have been

like a million Fridas, the laughing livid self
amidst the family
of her necropolis headboard, the skeleton-
draped canopy, the leg
taken, pains(?) intact.



This poem was inspired by an article I read in the Smithsonian Magazine. Aside from the surreal majesty of Kahlo being carried in her bed to the exhibition, what really struck me was the amputated limb. Her missing a leg during the fruition of her artistic career seemed all too appropriate to her life. Also, the idea of ghost pains, accolades, unanswered questions, family portraits, and skeletons all together in one traveling bed felt very true of life in general.