for frida (and the angels standing guard ’round the side of my bed)

1
stretch towards me
tell me your secrets
did you walk
did you walk

i think of myself,
you
everyone does it
not hard to see the resemblance
i love and share your femmestache

our eyes that burn
our art that slips under the carpets
our gender fierceness
our light skin and dark hair

was your room your kingdom
your bed throne

i can’t talk about you
i can only ask

i don’t know things
i don’t know things
about you

2
were you jewish
i am jewish
brown jew

not brown and jew
not arab and jew
brown jew mizrahi jew

3
were you beautiful to them
was it because of your light skin

were you ugly to them
was it because of your brokenness

how did you find your lovers
did they seek you out
were they afraid of breaking you more

did you experience much
physical pleasure
did your lovers
please you

how how how?

how did you live
how did you eat
who fed you

how how how?

did you drown in your
aloneness
did your art keep you
in company
were you quarantined for hours
days
months
years

4
how did you find me
how did you know i needed you

i found you after my own accident
cracked skull and dead friend
five of us survived

it wasn’t me who needed you then
amiga boliviana
she tattooed your brokenness
claimed you as her own

i drowned in bible verses
brain injured stupor
words and numbers
floated around my fractured head

but you came back to me
how did you know

5
my body is my kingdom
i believe in my existence
i wear you when i create
your stare comforts me

i wear this brittle existence
like a crown of thorns
i think i float
when angels carry me

my labor uncompensated
my art unrecognized
my anger wrapped in cloth
and exhaustion

6
i don’t know how to stay alive
you carry me

i don’t know how to exist
you validate me

i don’t know how to bear the pain
you comfort me

i don’t know why i am invisible
you recognize me

i don’t know how to breathe
you breathe through me

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