In her own words...

"Collage (La Femme 100 Têtes)"


(for Max Ernst)

A studio afternoon.
Down left with you, at table chaos
bidden and unbidden, it's all the same
under your hand: germinal,
clotted dust, mosaic tribes, an island night,

Beyond the window, rain.

A two-dimensional leopard wrapped in instinct
loves herself alone. You carve her out of paper,
                                                                               out of context.
Glue thickens like a plot.

Conjured scenario: scissor scheme explodes.
How else to float your favorite chair
among the waves, then sit in it?
Your cut-and-paste deny this play
where chapters strew the floor like sand.

A door somewhere unfolds.

Perturbation, your sister, reaches for your hand,
the hundred headless woman opens her august sleeve.
It all comes together, breathing itself
                                                                  into shapeliness.

Abashed, our turmoil drips.
Your plunder is the code,
the reason for this day of rain,
for all things unbelievable    believed.


About this work

This poem was first published as “Collage”  in Literary Imagination: The Review of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, Vol. 2, no. 1 (Winter 2000), p. 101. It is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, A Table of Content: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2004, pp. 12-13, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.