Viele Kinder

Marc Harshman
| poetry


Clambering down the rocky bank she found
the fish sleeping below a viridian copse of chestnuts.
Somewhere inside the night she had heard
their crying and it had led her here. She had
walked through glass stained the color of blood,
walked through the Presentation of the Lord.
A hooded basket of doves lay at His feet. She wanted
to free them and hoped that He had as well. Hoped.
Perhaps it was her blood. What made her think
there had been a door where there was glass? Never
a handle on that door to the Light of the World.
Our door. Us. Rescue and refuge. Schools. Of fish. Children.
What pied music can call them back? She pulls
shards of glass from her fingers, delicate fingers,
finely tuned from years at the organ. The nurse
seems agitated that she should speak German.
Had they all forgotten? Linz? A lovely old city
with gardens and palaces. She tried to tell them.
About home. About her parents and refuge.
In the high fields to the north she had sat
on that hillside by the hour watching the river. Waiting.
Watching the Stukas wheel away north. They
had buried her name somewhere under the cathedral. Dyed
her hair in the river. Chamomile, like the Danish Anna.
What had become of them all? The fish? The doves? The river?
The children?

Marc Harshman’s full-length collection, Green-Silver and Silent, was published by Bottom Dog in 2012. His poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona.

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