About the Feature

Photo by Doug Beckers

Bone by bone, she remembered
what it was like to change from body into light,

that the month of March had had no time for grief
and tore up her belly
until there were just black plums there

like ancient letters split in two—
al-eph, b-eyz, gi-ml, da-led.

She recalled she had once lived
blowing into a glass cup,

that the eyes and ears of the already dead
would sprout each night
from the starless womb of the city.

And she dreamed, with elbows over tangled sheets,
of Limanowska, a curved eyebrow
of a ghetto street, paved with sighs,
sonorous with horseflies;

of the trolley on its hands and knees;

and of the Vistula’s liquid muscles.

Kraków, she thought,
when the moon ate
its own stony light,

you watched me
in love only once,
how my stomach shivered.

—For Feiga Maler (1919–1942), who died in the Kraków Ghetto

About the Author

Yerra Sugarman’s third poetry collection, Aunt Bird, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. Her earlier collections are Forms of Gone and The Bag of Broken Glass. She has received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, among other honors, and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Toledo in Ohio.