Prayer to the High Priestess of Pain – a poem by Jennifer Brough

Prayer to the High Priestess of Pain

for Frida Kahlo

o, holy mestiza

how many are drawn
to the bedded isle
to see her lace-lined face?

pilgrims’ sighs infuse the house
reverence is a honied song
around this bright retablo

tin hands beckon from the altar
once the offering is laid
now kneel amid the marigolds

and light a yellow candle
cradled in her flaming gaze,
speak the thing you seek

i wish to make peace with pain
drape it in bright colours
and dance with its crooked form

around the portrait roots climb
caress like a lover’s rough fingers
from the cracked earth

a mystic answer echoes

some are born under a star
but others explode from earthquakes
bleeding glitter


Jennifer Brough is usually writing, editing or reading. Outside of these wordy pursuits, she is learning Spanish and dreaming of Mexico. Her work has most recently appeared in Re-side, RIC Journal, Burning House Press and is forthcoming in Barren Magazine. She can be found @Jennifer_Brough and on

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