Skin’s Dark Night Amy Pence


Collpsing ashes, moan, elastic the music that rose
from the model ghetto that was Theresiendstadt. A theater goes past,
a toy animal carved and birdlike. How the appetite expands, diminishes
until it is hollow like a flute in the cavernous maw of the body.
Beautiful arrangement, soiling wind. In metal filings sound reflects
all the patterns nature intends: honeycomb, coral, the shell’s grave
new underworld. I am tiny breath and hunger: grandmother, grand
father, great uncle and aunt. Notes creation etched: not numeral,

but symphony, not gold fillings piled, but design.
Not even skin—for there is no metaphor—just sound that rises
from throats open. Sound rises, rises, rises. In this century, sin
will not wash free. A sin we cannot begin to enter until you listen,
listen, listen—until your body takes it in: collapsing ashes, moan,
the sounds that rose from Terezín.


February 2003 2River