Frida Kahlo Visits Ballinasloe

Issue SixIssue Six PoetryPoetry

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By Nuala O’Connor

 

Frida Kahlo likes to walk in colour,

but she is hard-pushed on Society Street.

 

We wander together up Sarsfield Road;

‘Where is all the yellow,’ she asks, ‘the red?

 

Frida, in a floral dress and Mexican silver,

draws a tidings of magpies from the sky.

 

‘No parrots,’ she says, ‘no hibiscus?’

Clouds part, a triangle of blue pleases her.

 

Then she sees a scarlet Massey Ferguson,

yew berries spilled like beads on the footpath,

 

A woman in a crimson coat and a man’s shoes,

a King Charles with a postcard colleen’s curls,

 

Tail-lights like alien eyes spinning to Ahascragh;

‘Viva la vida,’ says unflinching Frida, painter of pain.

 

She sings the reds of Sarsfield Road and they bleed

into the veins of the town, pulsing its grey.

 

First published in The Juno Charm (Salmon, 2011).