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.