The Artist
by Jennifer Luckenbill

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought, there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” –Frida Kahlo

In youth, the crash, explosion
of light, color, light, darkness
left her small body perpetually
entombed by plaster, wire cages,
feather flesh in metal.

She doesn’t sing so much
as bleed her vulnerability,
her joy, her rage,
into colors, pain reflected,
the laughing mirror.

She is dying from a few small
nips, red cuts slashed across the flesh,
stabbed through, hollow,
heart looming useless and large
on the earth.

She is wrapped in warm
colors and scarves,
curtained in her affection.

She is transplanted into another self,
hearts tied, cuffed,
bleeding out.

She is flowering.

She is tethered to the chair
by black ropes of self-shorn
hair, release found in the frantic

She is tangled in the earth.

She is the christ,
sitting side-by-side at the bleeding table
with death and betrayal.
She is running
though the woods,
pierced in the side.
She is dissected, scarred,
split by day and night.

She is set loose,
the flowing river of hair,
adrift in the broken embrace of the cosmos.

The distance of canvas coupled
with the hard look, staring into the hard
look of the ferocious soul.

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