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Leda Burning, Immendorf Palace, 1945
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Leda Burning, Immendorf Palace, 1945

—after Gustav Klimt's destroyed painting of Leda and the swan

the SS soldierstruck his match on Leda's bareback—the long black neck

of the guilty swansmelt and merged into the curveof her bottom—flesh

quivered as the flamefollowed her spine to the nape,to the hollow, fingers

boiled as the gold leafin her hair curled into layersof pitch-dark roses

and the painted bedswirled in melting hues of greenbefore sucking Leda's last

breast into a pileof ash—gray soot and sweet youngthing sighed the soldier [End Page 16]

Tana Jean Welch

Tana Jean Welch was born and raised in Fresno, California, and currently lives in Tallahassee where she teaches writing and literature at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, and other national literary journals.