By Emily Rapp Black
“As an amputee since the age of four,” the author writes, “I have always wondered what it would be like to have memories of two flesh and blood legs.” On the surface, Frida Kahlo seems an unusual choice to supply those missing memories: Polio foreshortened Kahlo’s right leg in childhood, and a bus accident in early adulthood left her permanently disabled. Yet Black connects deeply with the Mexican artist’s sense of living simultaneously in two bodies—her actual one, bearing the scars of experience, and a magical one that transcends pain and suffering.
“I chose to try and understand the story of her body as a way of knowing or accessing mine,” Black writes. “She would be my guide. I would follow her, and here is how I could move self-love from an abstraction to a reality.” Black and Kahlo sing in unique harmony throughout this volume, offering resonant insights about moving on from loss.