My grandfather & Rembrandt’s Hendricke Stoffels

— Maia Elsner

Soft eyes to the lost boy gazing, her hand poised gently, fingertips resting,                                you
in the Louvre          seeking asylum. Poland
                                                                      ravaged. Cecilia
                                                                                                taken. Renata
                                                                                                                       [          ]. The Russians
reframing as ‘liberation’ another                                           take-over–
                                                                                            the Paris soup-kitchens are full of Jews &
PTSD, suddenly such                                                                                                             intimacy.
The artist,
painting the beloved
image—                                                                                                          the yellowing of her hair
spilling out
                  & my grandfather                                                                                           seeks an end
to suffering, these echoing
absences:                                         Artur                                               the superstitious engineer &
                                                                                  Ewa                                           with a laugh like
                                                                                                                                                sunrise &
                                                                     Janek                                                                   suddenly
an anchor
in ripples,                                                                                                                          brushstrokes
spraying the sides.
                             A reason to survive
this oyster world, as swans skim                                                             the imaginary pool, hopeful
for a paper                transformation or the little
                                               reassurances amnesia brings        to eyes brimming water as morning

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