No blues here

but the shadow 

of her collar—

  hint of the cold, ordered

bone beneath the skin. 

And then the hooded eyes 

  black and expansive

as an open purse.  

All afterthoughts to

the gold, of course, 

     almost a joke—

spilling from her dress

to the wall,

a river meeting

  the sameness

of an ocean.


    modern gilt on the eve

of the modern world—

the efficiency

   of assembly lines, the railroads,

metal making metal.

    A Jewish woman,

daughter of industry  

leafed completely in it, 

   a tree—

fat and rustling 

with its natural growth.

They took her in 1939 

   and called it

“a woman in gold”

to hide that the subject

was a Jew

       what a missed opportunity

for propaganda—

   why not store her 

with the tubs full of

wedding rings, 

that iconic picture 

     of some man digging

his hands into the horde,

to show the vastness

and his pleasure.  

I stare at her mouth

   and touch my own. 


A round name

   that forces you to kiss

the air when you speak

     it. German, 

but not. 

My grandmother’s maiden name, 


the real joke of her life.

The hard of the town

square, the ch 

of the chopping block.

   In some display case

in some other museum,

Leia Reich’s gold tooth 

is surrounded by all

       the others—

what’s left of the body

   in gold.