TWO POEMS by Tana Jean Welch
SLEEPING WITH JANE
Again I mutate as we move through
the old park, ready to launch
past the spectral-fired flowers,
past the Japanese elm sighing
alongside the swarm of Jizo statues,
bald little monks tall as wine bottles,
each transmitting a silent symphony
of grief—Jizo, protector of unborn babies.
Jizo, an army of stone guardians
stalwart in cardinal colored caps
and bibs—I rise above the remains
of my never known, not a phoenix,
but a woman without memory, not
a man on his endless knee to the night,
but a woman with a woman living in one
minute you undressed me and led me
into the pond and despite the angst of algae
between my toes I knew I was safe, like
a child who lives no longer, a child smuggled
into the afterlife in the sleeves of Jizo’s robe.
about losing wall space to Zina and Heike,
she wants a new glory hole, maybe something on Post Street—
when she’s angry her voice is clanging
bangles over a thin arm, so I hear new glory hole instead
of new gallery and wonder if it’s mine or hers
that’s suddenly inadequate
but before the wrinkled page of the sky
swells with emptiness,
I decide to let her know:
things can always go differently
Emma Bee Bernstein committed suicide
inside the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal.
She was 23.
Where did she do it?
In front of Léger’s Men in the City
(purchased by Peggy the day Hitler invaded Normandy),
or next to Brancusi’s Bird in Space
(acquired as the Germans approached Paris),
or in the garden? Was Emma Bee
standing on the gravesite of Peggy’s 14 beloved Lhasa Apsos?
I can’t find this information anywhere.
Jane asks: what does this have to do with anything?
everything (the last dog died in 1979)
and nothing (her name was Cellida)