<i><b>Wicked Alice Poetry Journal
wicked alice| spring 2008

Jen Blair
Tulip Manias


I split a bulb in my garden or the bulb divides or I buried my all in earth.  Thief beyond coin.  Only I am driven here.

daughter or lover


The garden is a blaze, all red, all waving, heads bobbing in manic agreement.  The cup of the blossom, black at the center.  This batch is red, the last, red.  The next.  Today yellow is out of stock but nothing ever again is out of season, not papery bulbs listing quiet in the bellies of ships, not red, not oranges.  Yesterday bacon splattered angrily in Mother's pan, but today all is flowers—red in the garden, green in the hand.  Mother's husband sails the ship out of port, blue sky, blue harbor, hushed bulbs.  It works best concealed, ships moving out at twilight or entering in the dark, the bulb not yet planted, the day before the wedding, stitching the bodice, picking, arranging the flowers.  I have sold my bed for you love, sold my shape and promise.  I ache, the skirt sliding down my hips, night falling.


soldier, once lover

My life after the war emptied.  

My hollow my face abraded.  

My lost love

work I since forgot.  

Then I was hungry or sick or taking things away from themselves.  

Home is flowers and debt.  

Home is a girl I no longer afford.


mother or wife

I myself never purchased a single bulb.  Even in the early rush we wanted.  I would catch myself looking past the fragile land, watching water as if I was water.  Though planted here.

Watching husbands off—one to war where bullets burst.  Dying slow, they said, body turning to mulch and I with daughters and nothing to hoard.

Married again having kept my figure through my troubles.  My second leaves quiet at night, slips to his ship, owned by the company, then the sea.  Only leased to me.