Chris Roberts-Antieau  © 2008 All Rights Reserved

Postcard from the Old Country

The historical stage, I wrote home, in Braille,
all other forms of correspondence traced, is empty
save for Anne Frank, fictional persona conflated with actual girl,
who, at age 13, yellow star affixed to budding breast,

was hidden in an attic enclave with the rest of her family
by those willing to die that justice, in their corner, be preserved.
That is how I think of the Slavs: bow-legged, independent,
mercifully ignored by the industry of tourists.

As I rode the tram along the river Danube , sluice of sludge,
I thought I saw my grandfather two rows up, to the right.
Heóthe strangerówas carrying a tin bucket of sour cherries,
I blinked and he was gone, he and his perishable wife, a tree.

 

***

 

In Light of Light

Iíve destroyed my biography.
The data therein.

Have feelings, will travel.
Have suitcase, will feel.

When I thought of you, in Prague,
it was of how you didnít know me,

and that you lived with that,
solitary as sleep.

The feigned indifference grew sickly,
died. Its bones are out back.

I can take you there, but why,
if you donít want to come?

I no longer believe
that suffering purifies the soul,

and I am too tired,
after the war effort, for metaphor.

Your eyes were blue,
they bespoke a certain depth.

I fell in love with a heretic.
This is the courage of God.

Virginia Konchan
Copyright © 2008

 

Virginia Konchan is a writer, translator, and multimedia artist living in Cleveland. Her poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Republic, American Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, Jacket Magazine, and the Mid-American Review, among others. She currently serves as the fiction editor of Whiskey Island Magazine.


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