Radical Romance: Shutter/ Julia Wendell


“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”  Frida Kahlo


I post one

with its age spots

and sepia tones.

You are beautiful, friends say

who haven’t seen me in 30 years.

A“Like” doesn’t begin

to do you justice.


I study the woman staring back,

wondering why she left

dark caterpillars inching

over dark eyes, and pulled

jaunty hair back, leaving

her middle-aged face

unadorned, a look her mother

might have called severe.

Then cut the hair she loved

after she fell

and could no longer walk correctly.
I know why Frida

pulled her hair back,

why she chose

the black button-down,

the tarnished necklace

with fetish medallions,

the dark smirk armoring her

against the next something

going wrong.


We look into a mirror

and see ourselves, one rent

from the rocky Coyoacan clay,

Diego’s X-ACTO knives and detailing tools,

the pains in her ruined spine;

the other from a wheel and buck,

each moment, another sob

splashed onto canvas and page

envisioned from our sick beds.


Notice the mouths

with almost perfect lips

(so Diego once said)

glistening still,

as her father behind his 35mm Black Eye,

and my husband behind his IPhone

advise us to Lick them again.


Julia and Silver Lab MonkeyJulia Wendell’s newest collection of poems is Take This Spoon, which appeared from Main Street Rag Press in 2014. She is finishing up a memoir, “Come to the X,” which is a sequel to Finding My Distance (Galileo Press, 2009). When she’s not writing, she is usually either playing the piano or riding.





Send one poem or short prose piece, to rabble.editor@yahoo.com, with the heading RADICAL ROMANCE: [your title]. We can’t wait to read your submissions! 


Header Image: Detail from “Las dos Fridas,” Frida Kahlo, 1939.

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