Jane, how could you?
After his books burned in the fire and
he left you to supply the miners
Did you feel abandoned?
The railroad money flowed
and you were a fine hostess, my dear.
But the universe would not abide
calling back the only thing you ever loved.
Jane, your suspicions had good cause.
Born on 11:11,
a fortress of arches and corbels
fed with your mother’s milk
nursed into existence.
You refused to lose another child.
Your mother’s gaze left with nothing to caress
save the sun-drenched marble;
a golden facade to hide your pain.
Loving those golden doors
with an unwavering tenacity;
clutching your only offspring
close to your breast.
Mere feathers in an empty nest.
Under patriarchal pressure
from the east,
vowing to never be
a second Vassar,
weak and emasculated.
We are a castle of ivy, you cried,
not an orchard in bloom.
A seed planted in name of your son-
grown in his memory-
should never bear such fertile fruit.
Each earthy golden pear
an affront to his manhood.
Jane, you traitor!
Susan B could never look you in the eye again.
That such an edict
Should come through a woman!
To plant a garden of narcissus
where daffodils should grow.
would not save you.
A sip at 11:11,
A tropical whitewash.
Now she stands near her men,
a little below and off to the side,
subservient to eternity.
would things have changed
if you had borne a girl?
Written upon discovering that Jane Stanford limited the number of women admitted to Stanford, an edict that would remain in place until the 1930's