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Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

Pascale Petit

after Frida Kahlo


When I came to you last night in my thorn necklace

with the dead hummingbird, its wings

were flying me back to the day of the accident.

When the moment came for you to enter me

I grinned at the sugar skulls and wax doves

and tried not to think of the crash,

the handrail piercing me like a first lover,

and me bounced forward, my clothes torn off,

my body sparkling with the gold powder

spilt from a fellow passenger. In that slow silence

it’s not true that I cried out. I only thought

about the toy I’d bought that day,

staggered about searching for it, before I collapsed.

They laid me on a billiard table

and saw to the wounded, thinking me dead.

And afterwards, when I came back to life,

they held a Mass to give thanks. As soon as

I could walk, the first thing I did was go

and buy another toy to replace the one I’d lost.

Just as tomorrow night I’ll try again

to get this sex thing right, and the night after that.


The Tabla Book of New Verse 2004