Sonnet in Primary Colors
by Rita Dove
This is for the woman with one black wing
perched over her eyes: lovely Frida*, erect
among parrots, in the stern petticoats of the peasant,
who painted herself as a present –
wildflowers entwining the plaster corset
her spine resides in the romance of mirrors.
Each night she lay down in pain and rose
to her celluloid butterflies of her Beloved Dead,
Lenin and Marx and Stalin arrayed at the footstead.
And rose to her easel, the hundred dogs panting
like children along the graveled walks of the garden, Diego’s**
love a skull in the circular window
of the thumbprint searing her immutable brow.
*Frida Kahlo – Mexican painter. The piece shown is entitled Self Portrait with Monkey and Parrot (1938)
**Diego Rivera – Mexican artist, husband of Frida Kahlo