“He had such beautiful, expressive eyes
within which stirred a profound sadness,
so much like his mother’s.
She was a kind and dear woman. I treated her
for breast cancer. You see, her death
left a mark on him, a black mark.
The US Army psychologists came to the house
as soon as I left Austria
and they interviewed me thoroughly.
They asked me if he was a bed wetter or a
eunuch – did he love his “mommy” too much,
or too little?
Did he ever come to me and say that he had
walked within rooms of deathly red,
built of stone and iron
where the shadows cried out – in his night terrors?
I told them he painted bright and insipid canvases
and sent them to me in Austria to hang on my parlor walls.
The biggest one showed a rolling landscape
and the sun breaking through clouds
to illuminate the ruins of some schloss
he probably drew for a postcard one
afternoon in Vienna after the war.
He sent a letter with it:
‘Dr. Bloch, my edeljude, my friend –
do not be alarmed! The world is ending soon
and the time will come when the order you
have known, the comfort you dwell in
will become clamorous and dire.
You see, something is off, something is wrong
I don’t know what, but we don’t have long.
The archers point their arrows into the sun
and the foundations of the Earth shake with
every one of my heartbeats.
I am sick but not in any way a physician can heal.
I am a broken clock chiming the same hour
over and over until the clapper of the bell
cracks and time itself ends.
History now calls out to me, it is sending
messengers running like Mercury
forcing into my hands missives made of nettles
written in ink that burns my fingers
and pools around my ankles;
the letters are from God
and He will punish me for my transgressions
how terrible it will be. How terrible!’
It then said,
With warmest affection,