By Christy Sheffield Sanford
Frida Kahlo y Calderón grows up, makes love and
a village on Mexico City’s outskirts. True, she traveled
and lived with others in other houses, rooms. In child-
hood, polio damaged her back. And at eighteen, in a bus
accident, a metal handrail impaled her pelvis and spine.
Thirty surgeries, sex
runs a hot bath. Steam rises. In the tub, eyebrows
reverie. She steps from her soak, towels off.
Frida wraps herself in a rose rebozo and slips into
her studio to paint the Boschian vision, a tub-scape
hell. She mirrors her crimson toenails in a bath of
a smoking skyscraper is stuffed inside a volcano;
a woman, perhaps pregnant, bleeds from the mouth;
a rope tightens around her drowning neck, meanwhile
a mosquito, worm and tiny dancer walk the same rope;
belly-up, red-headed, white-breasted bird mimics her.
On seeing “What the Water Gave Me,” André Breton
anoints Frida “a Surrealist.” He calls her art a
with the Hungarian accent. She weaves a ten-year
affair with the star photographer-Olympic fencer
in and out of her marriage to Diego.
Pull the plug, let horror swirl down the drain.
But consider, half a century later, the
And consider your role in
seeping into waters of Lethe.
Gone sloughed skin,
Christy Sheffield Sanford lives and works in St. Augustine, Florida. She has won an NEA in Poetry and is the author of seven small press books, including Only the Nude Can Redeem the Landscape and The Cowrie Shell Piece (Baroque and Rococo Strains). Her digital animations have appeared in numerous online magazines such as Amp, Atticus Review and Open: a Journal of Arts & Literature.
Image: Original painting, acrylic on canvas, Brianna Keeper