You were a child at the onset of the revolution. At six your
right leg became shorter & thinner than your left. You had a
disfigured leg. Broken spine. Collarbone. Ribs. Your right foot was
crushed by a bus. You took up boxing. You took up wrestling. You
were better than the boys. You broke them. You broke right through.
Raised eyebrows. Got expelled. Collided with a streetcar & wore a
plaster corset. Then a steel one. Smoked cigarettes. Retouched a still
life that had once been started. Your own eyes this time & nothing
more. When you became a dove you married a ten-fingered man.
Your mother was against it. Your father approved. You began to
favor huipils & rebozos that accented your mestiza. Sketched the
subject you knew best with red blood & yellow dahlia. Painted the
background of your life blue. Added a border of birds & flowers &
signed it Mexico in pencil on the verso. In Paris they hammered nails
into a wall at The Museum. They hung what you had created in the
center of a large white room. The name of the painting is The Frame.
You attended the opening. Cleaved your way through a great crowd
of people. You became the first. Those were modern times. You left
there feeling unimpressed. They got what they wanted you thought &
you sailed home.
Adam J. Gellings is a poet and instructor from Columbus, Ohio. His previous work has appeared in Best New Poets 2017, Prelude and Salamander.