My mother weighs her age,
ninety-five pounds. She lets me
wash between her breasts,
her voice soft and southern.
She never nursed me–another
place to lay the blame–a mother’s
fault how children turn out.
She lifts arthritic fingers,
drips water down my blouse,
silk-screened with Frida’s face.
She doesn’t understand
the attraction. I don’t ask
who she means. She believes
my husband is Spanish,
because of his aristocratic nose.
He painted our garden walls
cobalt blue, number 6965.
Just like Frida, I can’t have children
and never pluck my eyebrows.
I wonder if I could lie in bed
with a fractured spine and illustrate
the exact depth and width of pain.
Don’t be so rough, my mother says
her skin bruises. I rinse her hair
and wish she’d had another daughter.
Her hand trembles as she traces
circles in my palm, digging in deeper,
opening my skin, reclaiming her blood.