;

where she died—days after a photo
              suggested she lived, proved it
as much as paper can prove
              anything, as much as a figure
with her hair and approximate
              body, sitting on the dock, facing away
from the camera, can look exactly
              like a lost dead girl. And far off right,
a barge, floating almost out of frame,
              with what may be a plane or just fallen
white wings loosened from flying
              too close to the sun above it,
low-hung clouds blurring the matte print
              into confession. It must have been
calm on Jaluit Atoll then, the boats refusing
              to raise their sails and the past
—a storm, always a storm—
              depends on a sharp receding hairline
and prominent nose of the navigator,
              his distinct features prove,
“This must be her.” Her
              slumped shoulders, her
far-off eyes grazing the steady water
              where we can’t see them.
Maybe a woman who reaches
              too high has to go
missing, has to be found
              without a face, has to be
identified only by the bodies and wings
              surrounding her, after all,
how many of us
              have been found anyway?

 

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About Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach
Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania where her research focuses on contemporary American poetry about the Holocaust. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and TENT Conferences as well as the Auschwitz Jewish Center. Julia is the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) and her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Muzzle, and Sixth Finch, among others. Most recently, she won the Williams Carlos Williams University Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and New South’s Poetry Prize. Julia is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine and when not busy chasing her toddler around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she writes a blog about motherhood.