The Two Fridas
My younger self inquires why my older self
is a raw rose, a fool.
I claw at my heart,
strap it on my dress --
a red hole that opens & closes
The Wounded Deer
I’ve stalked my own heart
with compulsive arrows.
I will never return to how I was before.
I grasp my self-hatred like sagging plums,
unable to extend my fingers.
We’re one moving organism
that began with a lone sperm &
its yolk shining in utero,
the bright morning jelly star.
The Flying Bed
At once I birth lobsters & snails,
orchids so violet
their petals burn my wrists.
Stones & snails drop through my hips.
After pools of blood spill,
the fetus floats in a jar,
waters around it congealing to wax.
The Suicide of Dorothy Hale
If you won’t marry me,
I’ll wed death, step off a balcony at noon.
My skin will descend
& alter to milk on the sidewalk.
All other traces of me will evaporate,
back to the sky from which I descended.
My Grandparents, My Parents and Me
My mother paced the halls with needles & spoons
like a parrot trying to merge into wallpaper.
Her leather skin teased
but never touched me.
The starched & laced collar of her dress
squeezed her neck until she collapsed.
We travel to a market brimming
with melons, pelicans & bouquets of white lilies.
A housewife nurses her basket,
fingering rows of just-hatched eggs.
A boy stares out the window,
knees burning the long bench.
The Dream (The Bed)
Death is dancing around my bed
all night long.
Vines on my coverlet advance.
on the canopy.
My pillows contemplate shadows
nibbling on corners.
The Broken Column
I’m a martyr to Diego’s infidelities,
dancing on my back like tacks.
My spine is blown to smithereens,
vertebrae smashing bone against bone
Burned, buried, aureate stones
crumble like chalk.
Don’t be shocked by the horror of my insides
fragmented on the canvas like pumpkin pulp.
I can only count on one thing,
a candy skull perfect & white,
snickering over my bed.
Memory, the Heart
My organ has become so large, it’s bigger
than my abdomen.
The dress in which you ravaged me is sleeveless.
I’m wading in water
with a damaged foot & no arms.
Girl with Death Mask
They say I look like a doll,
arms, legs & torso in miniature
with a honeyed voice.
I’m dizzy from the same song.
I wear masks to the fiesta – calacas & tigres --
How could they be frightened
by someone as small as I?
My Dress Hangs There
America, I don’t worship
your bourgeois toilets, telephones, skyscrapers,
or feathered monstrosities
purchased from a Fifth Avenue habadashery.
Across the Hudson smokestacks & water towers
waddle on spindly, metal legs.
Crucifixes are wrapped
in freshly printed greenbacks.
Portrait of Cristina My Sister
Your skin is churned butter.
When my organs shriveled
into strips of poblano peppers,
their seeds rattled in their cases.
You opened your legs to Diego,
his cock poking your languid skirts
as casually as turning on a faucet.
You’re a jagged leaf
disguised as a flower.
Because I cannot wean a child,
I birth vines
that originate from atria, ventricles
& semilunar valves.
My blood circulates,
flowing to parched earth.
In the Jardin Centenario coyotes guzzle from fountains.
Laurel trees sway their hips.
Vendors at Plaza Hidalgo proffer
sopes, quesadillas y los mas ricas helados.
I pace the streets,
heels clicking between each cobblestone,
cloc, cloc, cloc,
as carriages thunder by.
Self-Portrait with Monkeys
four corners of table & bed.
My four monkeys, your black fur brushes
the nape of my neck.
I feed you bits of mango & banana
and you squeal among the leaves.
you are my four apprentices,
four apertures to the world.
Self Portrait with Cropped Hair
You loved me for my black thicket,
I’ve lobbed it off,
You won’t see me anymore.
My Nurse and I
I was like a calf at a dairy farm
sucking milk in mechanical release –
drip & suck, drip & suck.
Mother nursed my sister
but had no love left for me.
I do not recall her face,
for it was a pre-Colombian mask --
features without feeling, eyes without souls.
With one hand she weld me
to her massive breast.
With the other, a bottle of tequila.
The Wounded Table
What a feast of my last hours.
Every dimension of me devours
chilles rellenos, guacamole and mole poblano.
At the table:
Wounded Me, always inviting arrows to enter;
Androgynous Me, jaw sharpened like a man’s;
Martyr Me, Christ and high priestess;
Nude Me, Mexican Venus;
Elegant, Colonial Me, eyeing my subjects surreptitiously;
Third-eye Me, for the mirage that opens its doors;
Diego, for I am he & he is me;
Earth Goddess Me, because my art is all of me;
The Lord Herself, who presides over Earth
& melts into Sun and Moon,
Susan Michele Coronel
Susan Michele Coronel graduated with a B.A. in English from Indiana University-Bloomington and an M.S. Ed. in Applied Linguistics/Teaching English as a Second Language from Queens College (CUNY). She is a lifelong lover of poetry, and has studied with Yusef Komunyakaa, Tina Chang, Joanna Fuhrman and Annie Finch. Her poem "British Rhapsody" was published in issue #7 of Newtown Literary Journal. She has worked as a journalist and blogger, and as an elementary and ESL teacher. Since 2004 she has lived in Ridgewood, Queens, where she owns and directs a preschool/daycare program.
The Ekphrastic Review
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