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Steven Carter, USA

The Photograph

Many decades old, the sepia photo seems nonetheless contemporary; this twenty-something girl's clear eyes and blonde hair―it appears blonde, though it could be light brown―are her best features.

For me, she's the essence of all young women from the past I never knew and might've loved--ancient Greek girls of Delos, Iberian girls of the Costa del Sol, Irish girls from Kilkee.

And yet, and yet . . . There's something unique about this girl in the photo. Is it that I know what happened to her? Or that her eyes (were they green?) look just past me like a cat's gazing at something only it can see: nothingness to the rest of us.

In the end, the girl becomes yet another plangent voice in the dark winds of Purgatory, whispering to me: Too late, too late.

Along with many others, her photo may be seen in the small on-site museum at the Majdanek concentration camp in Lublin, Poland.

somewhere in the town
of a violin


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