Self-Portrait in Frida Kahlo’s Rooms



I have traveled long to inhabit your Casa Azul.

I walk through your corridors.

I step outside and make my hands sore

to cut the landscape, bring it back indoors,

and set it on the easel as you like best.


Everything here is enormous. Objects fill the space.

A huge papier-mâché skeleton sleeps soundly on the canopy

of your bed, los xoloitzcuintles and your pet deer Granizo

walk undisturbed, the Aztec gods guard over all.


You filled Diego’s room with a thorn necklace

so big it will entangle him.

I plunge into your crowded bathtub, amid volcanoes

and floating dresses. I emerge renewed. A giantess.


I walk back to your room. You are not there.

I read the note you left me:

Me entenderás, cuando te duela el alma como a mi.

You poured vino tinto in a glass. I drink it lavishly.

My body is so dark now and a new whiteness tints the sky.


Alessandra Bava is a poet and a translator from the Eternal city. Her poems and translations have appeared in journals such as Gargoyle, Plath Profiles, THRUSH and Waxwing. Three of her chapbooks have been published in the States. Her lastest is Love & Other Demons (dancing girl press, 2017). She has received two Best of the Net nominations. She is currently writing the biography of a contemporary American poet.