When I show my class a picture of Frida, a student yells Oh Shit

Instantly, I’m on the defensive:


Can yours roar?

When furrowed,

are your brows birds?

Each unplucked hair

boats across oceans,

home – azul like nothing in nature

yet rooted in revolution’s bullets

over clothing lines, burrowing

holes in white linens and the busted bus

that burrowed holes in bone,

rods that held her together,

back brace that broke her heart.

Her brows, the only body part

not saturated in tragedy like gangrene

hungry, ravenous even.

How it swallowed her feet whole,

smacked its lips, choking down each toe.

Kid, what do you know

of lust and love that lives

through miscarriages,

that outlasts body parts?

What do any of us know of

tending to that unhealable wound?

I was lucky, I birthed a son

who bares her name,

and if I raise him right,

her spirit too in each hair

of his tiny brows like her brows,

which I praise when my husband,

the same man who held my hand

though the blood and horrorshow of birth,

jumps his hand away from my unshaved leg

like its prickles are fire,

like the hair will swallow him whole.

How thankful I am, to her brows,

for giving me the strength to say

I’ll shave mine when you shave yours

without apology for being woman.

Oh holy conjoined black bears,

unplucked iconoclasts

that drink to swim, not drown.

Holy untweezed revealers

of a woman’s multitudes-

flowers that bloom

from a dying head.


When I show my class a picture of Frida,

a student yells Oh Shit,

Then, takes a photo with his phone.

She’s gonna be my background.


Tamara Zbrizher is a Ukrainian American poet. Her work ranges in subject matter from her heritage, motherhood, womanhood, immigration and the passage of time. Her work appears in Mom Egg Review, Lunch Ticket, Naugatuck River Review, The New Engagement, Grist, Driftwood Press and others. Her full-length collection is forthcoming from Get Fresh Books in Spring of 2019. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in New Jersey with her adorable and annoying son.