Bringing Frida with Me and Leaving Diego Behind

When I moved to Nebraska, I didn’t know what I was in for.

On the first really cold day of my first winter here, my not-yet-husband brought spicy Thai food and leis to my little apartment, announcing, “Happy first ridiculously cold winter day in Nebraska! Have a Lei! Eat some heat.” I remember thinking, What a sweet gesture, but I can handle a little cold, a little snow.

After eight long winters, I understood why my husband worked so hard (such trickery) to make the cold a reason for celebration. Remember 2009? How many of us gazed out of our windows, day after day after day, unable to see where the snow ended and the sky began?

I wrote “Friday Finally Leaves Diego…” in the dead of winter. I didn’t want to endure another winter all alone, so I brought Frida here. I changed her fate & wrote her away from Diego. The poem, written in Frida’s voice, was also triggered by the painting she created that shows her cradling Diego like a child, an image I find both beautiful and disturbing.

She wanted so badly to be enough for him; she wanted so badly to be his only source of nourishment and comfort.

“Midnight, Diego Remembers” came when I remembered a friend’s poem about seeing his wife’s dress on the floor–one of the most wonderfully understated, sexually charged images I’ve ever come across. Also, in writing the Diego poem, I relished in leaving him alone and in pain. He wasn’t good to her. I’m not sorry.


Frida Finally Leaves Diego and Moves to Nebraska

I get up from the kitchen table
and walk into the blizzard
of my canvas.

By dawn, I’ve painted my little red brick house
with its single lit window. If you look closely, you can see
me, brush in hand, painting Diego

into my womb, the one place where he cannot possibly be
hungry. I listen to the second hand tap its pen against
the silence. The hourglass is empty.
My heart is a little girl banging on a grand piano
composed of black keys.


Midnight, Diego Remembers

her hair falling,
her dress in a heap on the floor.

When Love was the wood
and the wound to be dressed, not the axe

licked clean and smiling.