"A collar of thorns perforates her throat."

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Issue 12: The Necessary Ear

Issue 11: The Necessary Eye

Issue 10: Out on a Limb

Issue 9: The Missing Body

Issue 8: The Lily

Issue 7: Passages

Issue 6: No More Tears

Mary Kaiser

Organized Labor (Detroit, July 1932)

Rivera embeds the Ford Rouge Engine Plant
in wet plaster above the Sculpture Court.
Shifting his ovoid bulk on narrow planks,
he pauses, arcs the brush, shuffles overhead.
He curls a fetus inside an oval cartouche,
bends tubes around pistons and huddled tycoons.
Huge adobe women surmount his factory,
resting the hillocks of their bosoms on massive arms.
In Henry Ford Hospital, little Diego
slips dead from Frida's ruined pelvis.
She will keep him in a bottle in Mexico City
with two other babies she didn't have.
She squints at a solar eclipse, decides to paint
on tin. She tilts her strapped frame to the light.


Mug Shot (New York, 1938)

On a rooftop against the skyline,
the camera finds machismo smudging
her upper lip and elevated chin makes
a piquant foil for the dahlias nodding
in her hair. She's frowning, as if selecting
from rows of shapely thighs or ripe havanas.
Evening lingers on the face of her corpulent
wristwatch, pale as a woman weeping.
These days she dresses not for love
but paradise, flouncing raw pigments,
jingling fetishes like loose change,
thumbing grief across her forehead,
leading phantoms in yellow wrappers
over the border into Gringoland.


Monkey, Cat, and Dead Hummingbird
(Mexico City, 1940)

All three black as the span of her eyebrows,
her nose is the tail of a bird in flight, her skin
acidic, off-key, the color of madness.
A collar of thorns perforates her throat.
Each time she swallows, another blood drop
beads up. The hummingbird, a charm
for luck in love, flattens itself, abject
on her breastbone. The cat has yellow eyes.
In Hollywood, Diego improves Pan-
American relations. Trotsky dead,
Mexico sizzles. Monogamy works only
for imbeciles. The monkey twists her collar
tight. Frida's shoulders press the veins
of heart-shaped leaves against a lilac sky.