Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 19 . . .

Photos of girl used with permission from the archival collection of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim.

painting by Lori Schreiner

elegy for her

     poem by Theresa Senato Edwards

how is it we mourn for someone whom we didn’t know?

to see three photos and wish her eyes transform?

to think about gender and how it shifts in each camera shot

her profile: a boy in a dress

hair jagged, chin cut as if there’d been a brawl,

empty fight with men gone very wrong.

her portrait: young girl,

eyes bent with sadness

stress around nostrils,

anger carved silent like glass.

her look beneath kerchief when asked

to shift her head right: young woman.

how is it her features soften against the force of chair

when dark cloth swaddles her hope of flowers,

river mist, laughter?

how is it that five numbers are all we have to find only three photos?

a “Z,” Zigeuner (German for Gypsy), to create a category

in which they’ll haul her out,

bludgeon any smiles she might have saved for someone

worth loving?


Theresa Senato Edwards' first book of poems Voices Through Skin will be published June 2011 by Sibling Rivalry Press. “elegy for her” is from a collaborative book in progress by Edwards and Lori Schreiner titled “Painting Czeslawa Kwoka ~ Honoring Children of the Holocaust,” tentative completion date: January 2011. Other work from this can be found online at AdmitTwo, Autumn Sky Poetry, elimae, and Trickhouse.  Edwards teaches literature and tutors writing at Marist College and is founder/editor/publisher of Holly Rose Review.

Lori Schreiner is a therapist, writer, and painter. In addition to her creative pursuits, she supervises a community mental health clinic in Vermont. Her paintings have shown in New York City and The Windham Art Gallery in Brattleboro, Vermont.


© 2010 Theresa Senato Edwards & Lori Schreiner