Lange Nacht

to Antonio García

Tonight the museums
on their floors of ice

will be open all night,
the burghers of Vienna

move like moths
in their splendid coats,

draft from the moonlit garden
shakes the crystal petals.

Wagner, painted genius on the wall,
was saddened that so many hundreds

burned alive in the Ring Theatre fire
of 1881 but found solace, he said,

that most were Jews. Down the alley
the unspeakable lived –

a flowerpot, a bank of doorbells
to summon what lives on inside –

the morning tourists will roll up
with their backpacks, their small proud

flags, gaze in vain through
the filmy windows, an iron keyhole,

finding a broom propped by the door.

Roger Atwood’s poems have appeared in Town Creek Poetry, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Potomac Review and Linden Lane Magazine. He is the author of a non-fiction book, Stealing History (St. Martin’s Press, 2004). His essays and articles are widely published, including in National Geographic, The Times Literary Supplement, The Massachusetts Review, Latin American Research Review and Mother Jones. He is a Contributing Editor at Archaeology magazine and teaches writing at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, where he lives.

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