This poem is based on Frida Kahlo's painting 'What the Water Gave Me', where she's lying in her bath surrounded by scenes from her life.

What the Water Gave Me (VI)

This is how it is at the end –
me lying in my bath
                              while the waters break,
my skin glistening with amnion,
                                              streaks of starlight.
And the waters keep on breaking
as I reverse out of my body.
My life dances on the silver surface
where cacti flower.
The ceiling opens
                           and I float up on fire.
Rain pierces me like thorns. I have a steam veil.
I sit bolt upright as the sun’s rays embrace me.
Water, you are a lace wedding-gown
I slip over my head, giving birth to my death.
I wear you tightly as I burn –
                                  don’t make me come back.

from What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo (Seren, 2010), © Pascale Petit 2010, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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