#b#To view this story’s original formatting, please see page 41 of the online PDF of this issue: http://www.princetoninfo.com/files/library/pdfs/97.pdf#/b#
Diego Rivera kneels at my coffin. A huge man, he towers over me even in this position. In the crook of his left arm, rests a cluster of calla lilies. He removes one lily and places it across my forehead; takes another for my throat. He tries to press two beneath my crossed hands. Death helps me resist. I hear a whispered:
“Niña, chiquita, Frida.”
His tears flood my coffin. I am drowning.
I relent as I always do.
“Mi niño, Dieguito —”
My tears slide to the sides of my temples, meander among my braids, over the silver, filigree ornaments and I remember other lilies.
“Niña chiquita,” he says as he places lilies to my scars.
A cluster of three bound with a narrow
red, satin ribbon
surrounds the stump of my right leg,
one across my abdomen,
one pressed between my thighs
“La maja vestida.”
I laugh and place one between his thighs,
stigma above stigma.
I am the lily— corolla, labia, style,
pistil, clitoris. He is the lily as well.
“La maja desnuda,” he purrs,
moving the stem along my-
Angeline, Marevna, Guadalupe, Paulette,
Helen, Cristina, and Louise enter the room
and I pull away.
“Frida, pata de palo —” And then, his mouth to the lily of the thighs,
he croons, “Niña chiquita.”
He told me I was his diamond among inferior jewels but he would not — I turn from his tears.
He is into the canvas
Laughing and shaking his hips
Pressing the brush to my breast
encircling the areola in cadmium yellow.
He is into the canvas,
Painting lilies in women’s baskets —
on the shoulders of men-
into the canvass.
“We will have our flower days again, Diequito,” I whisper to his sobs. He presses his lips to mine.
I watch him leave, the remaining lilies in his hand to be painted, perhaps, in the background of a canvass or placed upon the thighs of another corolla.
Feldman is a retired NYC High School English teacher. She is presently working on a novella and short stories and seeking an agent. Three short stories have appeared in past U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issues.