you can not replicate a self-portrait-
though you can try.
try to build and rebuild an artist,
stroke by stroke, try to recreate
a visual of thorns shedding red paint from a stranger’s throat
but you will not know the pain she felt
dripping real blood on her original canvas
and having to cover the evidence up with acrylics.
the monkey on her shoulder-
a reminder of heartbreak she wants to run from,
but she remains stuck in a golden frame,
an exhibition for people to awe at.
I bet she held her breath
until she put the brush down. I bet she did
but I know nothing for certain,
except the familiarity
of her eyebrows.
no one will ever be able to
paint Frida Kahlo as well as she painted herself.