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Anya Silver

1968–2018

Anya Silver was born December 22, 1968 in Medina, Pennsylvania. She received her BA from Haverford College and a PhD from Emory University. She published four poetry collections, Second Bloom: Poems (Cascade Press, 2017), From Nothing: Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2016), I Watched You Disappear (Louisiana State University Press, 2014), and The Ninety-Third Name of God (Lousiana State University Press, 2010). Silver taught at Mercer University. She was named a Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry in 2018. She died of breast cancer in Georgia on August 6, 2018. 

By This Poet

1

In the Sanatorium

It was after the war.
My father lay in an Austrian sanatorium,
his lungs full of tuberculosis.
Next to him, a young Soviet veteran
needed to confess to another Russian.
He had done something terrible, he said.			
In Kharkov, before the Germans came.
Under orders, he had taken enemies of the state,
shoved them between two stopped trains,
and burned them to death.  Then swept away remains.  
Could he ever be forgiven for such a sin?

How could he know, that tormented man,
that my father’s father was one of the dead?
What chance that these two men would lie, 
shushed to sleep by nurses, bed to bed?

My father, unable to respond, simply averted
his head, refusing to grant comfort.
Riven, six more decades, between two ghosts:
one wasted from coughing, pale; one burning.
Both beyond any word he might have spoken.