Sunday, December 14, 2008


My Dress Hangs There

– after the painting by Frida Kahlo

When the maid asks, must you leave

New York so soon?
I will say, it is

just the smell of last week’s uneaten fruit

that makes me long for La Casa Azul.

Then I will gently fold my lies into a suitcase,

and carry my pain to Mexico

where it can live a colorful life

under skirts that swirl as I raise

the brush, paint myself again and again,

until finally I see glimpses not of me

but of what I will become: strong

eyebrows, long neck, eyes wise.

But for now my dress hangs there

in the room where you sleep without me.

I could say I will miss you but I won’t

and when my back aches, I will paint

and when I am hungry, I will paint

and when I want to be loved

I will rest beneath the mango tree

take out my pain

and devour it.

- Irene Latham

This one I wrote as part of a series on historical women, and it is one of two poems that recently appeared in the journal FREE LUNCH. (Look for the second poem next Sunday.)

Also, this poem (along with six others in the historical women series) was selected for publication in the new anthology EINSTEIN AT THE ODEON CAFE, to be released by Churn Dash Press in March 2009.

I could write for days about Frida. She fascinates me.

"Feet, why do I need them if I have wings to fly?"

- Frida Kahlo


  1. This is a really beautiful poem. I have been a long time fan of Frida. I have read dozens of biographies about her. I found her time in NYC to be very sad. I think that is where she had her miscarriage.

    Congratulation on this beautiful pieces upcoming publication. Very exciting.

  2. I am crazy for this poem. It speaks to me in so many ways. I'm thrilled it will be published--your voice is so strong, it must be shared in many venues.

    Can't wait to see next week's!

  3. So happy you like! I worry sometimes about how the extent of my research limits the poem-- how someone who knows more about my subject might find it inaccurate. Nice to hear this one works. :)


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