by Kim Tran
I imagine Frida Kahlo.
I imagine her sitting with her broken,
fractured spine in a cobalt house
by banana leaves and palm fronds.
She is painting. I am beside her.
Inside her canvas–
Between its tightly woven threads–
I bury the weight of all my communities.
Her paintbrush strokes into safety
the rainbows of our fraught lives.
the death that surrounds us.
that we may know laughter.
instead of tears.
to soothe the fragile bones that know pain.
are homages to pain
of pulverized stone,
fruit and ash
so that I
may revel in our earths;
I know to be our truths.
That we arise
from the complexities of generations
bloom and flower
almost touching sunlight.
we are not phoenixes
have not risen from ash.
We are terrestrial.
We are the water droplets on
waxy leaf tops
grazing her and my
We are the babies buried lovingly in tree roots
in that Frida Kahlo painting
that sold for millions.
Kim Tran is a graduate student in the Ethnic Studies program at the University of California, Berkeley. Her academic and activist commitments are to refugee communities, transnational laborers, and queer communities. She is originally from San Jose, California, a proud survivor of California’s public schools and universities, who aspires to think alongside young people in classrooms and community. Her work can be found at www.kimtranpoetry.com.