I discovered Ellen Welcker this summer via her book The Botanical Garden, found on a used poetry shelf. A compatriot and maker of beauty. Here’s a characteristic page:


“An immigrant’s song can last three to thirty-six minutes.

In ‘Senegal’ bogs of floating garbage swirled around shanties of compacted trash. We sometimes played and sometimes drowned in them.

I had wanted to give birth to a human, a tiny human, like a whale.

In ‘Brazil’ lovely and devastating, a mutation, a potential pandemic: whale flu.

I am a mother, detained. I am a mother, still. If I die, I say, I die no home. The judge rules to deport me. I die now, I say. The mother I.

The methods of abuse included lack of access to phone calls and legal counsel, derogatory racial and sexual epithets, separation of family members, and failure to respect basic dignity as evidenced in repatriation of cetaceans without clothes or shoes.”