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The Frida Train (a golden shovel)

By Russell Nichols in Issue Thirteen, January 2024

“Pies, para qué los quiero si tengo alas para volar?”*
― Frida Kahlo (1907–1954)

The blueprint was hidden under Frida Kahlo's bed, where she rested her feet,
after the accident. Engineers puzzled over the design, knowing not what
it was for, but built her hand-drawn estaciones to learn what they could do
100 years after her death in 1954. Standing by one street corner booth, I
remember watching people with no legs or with no arms and people in need
of a lift drift into Mexico City skies as an unseen airstream carried them
wherever they wished to go. This elevated transit system was created for
passengers with disabilities, who describe the ride as a spiritual experience. If
any unqualified soul chose to enter one of her estaciones they would be, as I
was, startled by the artist herself, hair on fire and smirking lips that have
blood dripping as she utters: “Espero que nunca vuelvas.” These sacred wings
belong to those who know the shape of transcendence, who endure and endure to
catch the Frida Train when life collides with life, who figured out how to fly.

*“Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly?”

© 2024 Russell Nichols

Russell Nichols

Russell Nichols is a speculative fiction writer and endangered journalist. Raised in Richmond, California, he gave up all his stuff in 2011 and now lives out of a backpack with his wife, vagabonding around the world ever since. Look for him at russellnichols.com.

Poetry by Russell Nichols
  • The Frida Train (a golden shovel)