U.S. Authorities Have about 14,000 Sets of Human Remains Lacking Identification by Tana Jean Welch

The last time I saw her she was leaving.
I tried to count the soft hairs on the nape
of her neck
as my boatman rowed her across the pond
away from my personal island.

There were no clouds that day.

We’d just finished lunch—
macaroni and cheese flavored with bacon—
and a conversation:

she’d made a remark about the beauty
found in Oslo’s Vigeland Sculpture Park—
the arms and legs feeding
around the monolith,
the irony of 100 bodies
entwined and climbing to the top,
all carved from one giant block of granite.

I wanted her to mention my favorite stretch of the park:
the large naked women holding their large naked babies.

But she only said
it rained the day she went,
making it seem
as though the entire human condition had been crying.

I wanted her to have my baby.
She said no.
Either the world or her stomach was too full.

Image By:Tim Wang

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Tana Jean Welch currently live in Tallahassee where she’s working toward a PhD in Literature at Florida State University. Her manuscript, Cannon Splinter, was a finalist for the 2010 AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry; and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Prairie Schooner.