“La fille aux cheveux de lin”                                                                         —Toi Derricotte

It hurts me to lift
the old record from its
paper cover, to bring Walter Gieseking
to life again. The needle
is heavy with pain, and yet it bumps
down lightly, releasing
the sumptuous, thread-fine
brightness pressed
into vinyl
when the great pianist
played for the Nazis. On the cover,
his eyes are soulless, as dull
as one who has given over
his true gift
to the devil. The notes
fly above
the crematoriums—sorrow
you name, sorrow
you are part of

“The girl with the flaxen hair.”

"La fille aux cheveux de lin" is from the forthcoming book "I": New and Selected Poems by Toi Derricotte,
© 2019. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Toi Derricotte

Toi Derricotte’s most recent book is The Undertaker’s Daughter. She has received the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, two Pushcarts, the Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem in 1996. She is Professor Emerita from University of Pittsburgh and served on the Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2018