FRIDA KAHLO TO MARTY MCCONNELL TO CHRISSY MONTELLI
Advice: make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic--a pair of heinekens,
your names stenciled on labels. You were nineteen & he’d bought them in Amsterdam--
now yours interpolates your mother’s china. Your mouth has touched countless mouths
of other bottles since then & still you don’t pucker for beer.
You don’t paint for him but he’s why you’re painting, piceous: anvil handcuffed
to thundercloud. Exhale & he gallows your self portrait, heavy enough to drown.
Inhale & chalkboard every studio apartment, flask oxygen into capillaries & synapses--
recycle your heineken into a kaleidoscope & someday the lenses will align just so.
You want to overflow his swimming pool with teabags--watch his ribcage ferment.
Number the leaves & test pH for acidity. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear
as revenge--you are not stupid. You understand why he gluts you with anchors
& bile, marionettes your neurons to jumble & jump. You won’t jump, now. You aren’t
nineteen drinking personalized heinekens. Instead, kahlo him: forest your heart until
it filters smuggled beer & leaks moroccan mint.
CICATRIZE, OR: RITE OF PASSAGE FOR MY EX-LOVER’S EX-LOVERS
Common denominator: a man with more hands than a parade--an unthreaded needle
clutched in our hems. He evades us, reminders of his incisions--cortex cemented
back together in reverse--like letters puffed off a page & gluegunned into ransom notes,
more bad poems than he deserves--if pooled, we could quilt a who’s-who of amputations.
In recovery, we define ourselves by acid-lemon callous pitted in our stomachs--
I urned ashes into feathers to sever recognition. I want to warn them: make him
phantomlimb for the last time. Hazard a lover into your body & he will become your body--
cosset into a lover as preventative for trimming yourself uneven. When your ribcage snowballs
in your hands like playdoh, all four-poster heart & papier-mâché, resist burning
the bridge of your nose--peel back cartilage & bones until you plate-armor inside out.
Both of these pieces contain lines from Marty McConnell's poem "Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell."
Chrissy Montelli is a current MFA candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also works in Student Affairs. Her poems have been published in The Adirondack Review, Gandy Dancer, and elsewhere. She is originally from Long Island, NY, and was once bullied by The Washington Post for blogging about poetry not being dead. Find her on twitter.