Inspired by Nickolas Muray’s photo, Frida and Diego (with gas mask kissing), Coyoacán, 1938

I witness portraits of my own irony
carbro printed on synthetic paper
with ultraviolet light that brings her
hand into focus first, bent wrist
and palm flat stark on his shoulder,
as if her hand never wrote
“my darling” and “my sweet” to me,
as if her sister’s hand never rested there,
parodying embraces of young lovers
in Paris -- but mostly Hollywood --
the cities of romances, muses, and affairs.
The carbon tissue continues to harden
like a scar and reveals in her other hand
a cigarette angled sharp and bone-like,
and I want to laugh at this masked
fear of mustard gas because they’re already
breathing toxic air — I want to laugh,
but I was breathing, too.

-- Cindy V., Adult