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I Remember the Look of My Ex-Wife Sitting
Quietly in the Window on a Certain Day

What did she look like? Everyone knows: the swanlike neck, the
dark, doe eyes, the high, noble forehead on a delicate-featured
head, crowned by a towering blue headdress.
                                                      —Sharon Waxman

Nefertiti means "The Beautiful One Has Come"

and this rendition of her was sculpted out of limestone
in the workshop of Thutmose
about 1340 BC

and having survived the subsequent era's
destruction of most of the other sculptural references to her
—essentially, the destruction of her sisters—

she was excavated in 1912
her beauty as so often happens immediately argued over
by Egypt Britain France and Germany
all demanding ownership

and was ceded to Germany
there to go on display in 1923 in Berlin
although the international arguing continued

and remained there in Berlin as the Hitler war machine
was pieced together
and remained there as the tanks and missiles and gas chambers
left the blueprint stage

and in 1939 because of the war was taken
to shelter in a salt mine in Thuringia
her one good eye with the inlaid iris
and the one that had left the workshop blank

so many thousand years before

surrounded by walls and ceiling and floor
of salt salt salt salt salt salt

all of the stuff of weeping
and not one tear.

Albert Goldbarth

New Letters

Volume 79, No. 1

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