35 Cranston Street
Otto Plath was a biologist at BU, wrote
a book about bumblebees. His daughter
first lived at 24 Prince Street in Jamaica Plain,
where I live now, in a room of found furniture
and pickled words. Hurricane skies
light me home, pink and periwinkle.
Silence is so accurate, Mark Rothko said;
some silences more accurate than others.
I share a house with four people: this silence,
home alone, writing poems on the living room
couch, windows open to September, its folding light,
this silence most precise. I snack on Bumble Bee tuna
from the can, read Giorgio Agamben, think
of singing again, while the storm conspires.
Singular discomfort of not speaking
the language: here I am unhomed in
words, monolingual, humiliated.
Van Gogh Museum reminds me
of Auden on Brueghel. About suffering
he was never wrong—I mean Van Gogh.
He painted his own face so often,
I wonder what he was looking for,
whether he found it. His last words
were, The sadness will last forever.
He spoke them in French, to his brother.
I can speak some French, read Latin and
Hebrew a little, but English is all that
helps me live in the world. I have two
Dutch cousins who are embarrassed
at their English. In their house I am a
stranger, ashamed I have not tried harder.
I prize the heft of museum brochure paper,
visit the Anne Frank House where I feel
like I am getting the flu, think the whole
visit I might fall down, weep at the photo
of Otto alone in the annex in 1960. I have
Indonesian food for the first time,
start to foster a taste for red wine.
Annie Diamond is a Connecticut native, who lives presently in Chicago. She earned her BA in English and creative writing from Barnard College. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Laurel Review, Free State Review, Cargoes, Misadventures, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships by The MacDowell Colony, The Lighthouse Works, and Boston University, where she completed her MFA in 2017.