Theophila’s Serenade

She had lost them all, lost track of them, had never said goodbye

To their bodies, the love had always been intact and she felt them

Around her, relived them and had never been able to bury them.

It had been her mother’s life’s work to let her go, to let her live and

Remember them as they were. And when Theophila played her instrument,

She heard her father’s heartbeat and evoked her sister’s laughter before the war.


Their murder would leave her instrument in the form of air,

Through her body, as a creation, unfolding, reforming against the past,

Against the crimes that stole their lives, and her fingers would agonise

And mourn their evaporating bodies, leaving her forever in forms

Unrecognisable, never to be recovered, where birds don’t go and sing.

They grieve from afar and she liberates their fate with the sound of her survival.


Buste de femme rousse vue de profil” by Federico Zandomeneghi (1841-1917)


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