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Love Will Burst Into a Thousand Shapes*: Frida Kahlo

The first time I married Diego
he could not lift the paintbrush
from my womb
I bled cadmium from interior spaces
yawning with pubic hair, seeds
cactus roots
cavernous with absence
feeding myself with the milk of Solanaceae
Demeter’s teats
spitting out sugary skeletons
instead of babies
slipping towards parthenogenesis

After I married Diego a second time
he wound necklaces of thorns around my throat
I bled alizaran crimson from soft flesh
feeding myself dead birds
Other women crowded around
masticating and cheering, but they were nothing
even my sister was nothing
(was I? Was I nothing? With my lovers?)

Diego grabbed the sky
through the cavern in my chest
his arm a straight unbearable pole
and told me that was all the love
he had

Fair is fair; I didn’t have a heart anymore
just something swollen
a girl’s red castle of pain
wetly beating on sand

*Frida Kahlo, note to Diego Rivera



This poem was originally published in “Love Will Burst into a Thousand Shapes,” 2014.

Jane Eaton Hamilton is the Canadian author of 8 books of short fiction, poetry, and a memoir, a Sunday Times bestseller included on the Guardian’s Best Books of the Year list. She is the two-time winner of Canada’s prestigious CBC Literary Award for fiction (2003/2015). Her work has appeared in Salon, NY Times, Seventeen magazine, MS blog, Full Grown People and many other places.

Favorite poets: Tanis MacDonald and Amber Dawn.