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2 poems by Adrian Silbernagel

The Watermelon (after Frida Kahlo)

I imagine you having a picnic with one of your lovers.

The two of you laughing, a little drunk, looking up

just in time to see a streetcar careening toward you.

The driver overcorrects, saving your lives but badly

injuring several others. It isn’t your fault, at least

not completely. People are messy, these triangles

we indulge in even messier. But what do you do?

I imagine you lifting the reddest slice to your mouth,

an explosion of pink mist, juice dribbling down

your chin onto your white guayabera: once a wedding

shirt, now just casual attire. I once thought true love

like true zest for life was rare, I just didn’t know how

rare. I imagine you feeding the bloody meat to her,

then to others. I’ve chosen carefully my colors.

The Watermelon (after Diego Rivera)

Your pain was invisible

and then it was a mural

on a public building.

They say I caused it

but who are they to talk

to me about causes.

I gave my life to one.

I gave my love to many

who could not endure it.

You could endure anything:

any diagnosis, any bull

headedness, any betrayal.

They whisper suicidio

but I do not hear them.

I'm old and trying to work

summer fruit into a portrait

of my grief. A blackbird

lands on the watermelon

I brought to the cemetery

and stares at me, unmoving.

I won’t begin until it leaves.

Even if the fruit spoils. Even

in death you are more loyal

to life than I’ll ever be.


Adrian is a poet, blogger, and coffee shop manager. Adrian's first book of poetry, Transitional Object, was published with The Operating System in 2019. He is the author of 'Thinking Queerly,' a bimonthly column at QueerKentucky. In his spare time, Adrian facilitates workshops on transgender inclusivity in the workplace. 


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