Sarah Wetzel


The baby's bulb glows, casting
its diffuse radiance across
an empty room.
               After a year alone

in a Bejing orphanage, a Chinese child
will say that all white faces
forever look the same.
               Vice versa,

a mother-son bond draws
its cloth shape
from the silent dialogue

         their two naked faces.
After a stroke, my friend,
just fifty years old, lost

the ability to discern her own
son's face and even so
if I showed her his photo again
and again. Every day she wakes

         to a strange child.

So when I say, don't
put on the veil

it's because I need more

than your eyes, more

than just that thin slit
of brown iris. In
Rembrandt's portraits, there seems
to me a promise

that a great many faces are
to be lost--

Aristotle and a Bust of Homer, Bathsheba
at Her Bath, The Man
in a Gold Hat--and lost

more than once, but
               that he'll
have no hand in it.
How could any of us
               bear ourselves,

         the beloved
painted over?

Sarah Wetzel, poet and engineer, is the author of Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was published in 2010 by Anhinga Press. After job-hopping across Europe and the Americas, Sarah currently divides time between New York and Tel Aviv, Israel. She graduated from Georgia Tech in 1989, and in 1997, received a MBA from Berkeley. Sarah completed a MFA from Bennington College in January 2009. Her poems and essays appear in Israeli and American publications including Barrow Street, Valparaiso, Quiddity, Rattle, Folly, Ilanot Review, TwoReview, CALYX, Nimrod, and others.

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