Within the spare frame of a sonnet-length poem, Jared Harél presents a world of losses. Line by line, the wartime details accrue—stolen art, stolen homes, stolen lives: “In stillness and brushwork. Bodies in a ditch. / A woman made of oils and a woman made of skin.” This is more than a history lesson. Eighty years later, we continue to pray for peace in Europe, the Middle East and throughout the world.
—Jody Bolz, Poetry Editor
STILL LIFE WITH NAZI-LOOTED ART
In hidden bunkers. In gleaming museums.
In rock-salt mines and gilded frames.
In stillness and brushwork. Bodies in a ditch.
A woman made of oils and a woman made of skin.
In cinders and stardust and statutes of limitations.
In Swiss safes and permanent collections.
My grandmother’s parents owned a brownstone in Lodz.
My grandmother’s parents own the ash in their throats.
In platters of plump fruit and opulent cheeses.
In Goering’s shy smile before Renoir and Matisse.
In America, my grandmother spent almost nothing.
In America, she’d offer me quarters to sing.
In coins and heirlooms shining like varnish.
A child’s fortune darkened in my fist.
Jared Harél is the author, most recently, of Let Our Bodies Change the Subject, which won the 2022 Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. He lives with his family in Westchester County, New York.
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