“To Paint Her Life Was One Solution” by Susan Rich


To Paint Her Life Was One Solution
after Charlotte Salomon, 1917-1943

As she walks heated hallways,
she imagines her mother’s bones —
in beveled frames, as scorched

stones, rough surfaces riding inside her
throat. Between the wars, suicide
was fashionable — all the rage

among Berlin’s modern women
— and her mother always loved to follow
trends. Charlotte mouths her mother’s

favorite words — when I transform
into a ravaged star
— and then disappears
into her watercolors, paints a stone, a Nazi train car.

Susan Rich

Susan Rich is the author of four collections of poems: Cloud Pharmacy, The Alchemist’s Kitchen, Cures Include Travel, and The Cartographer’s Tongue: Poems of the World (White Pine Press). She co-edited the anthology The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders, published by McSweeney’s and the Poetry Foundation. Rich’s poems have appeared in all 50 States and 1 District, including in Antioch Review, Harvard Review, O Magazine, Poetry Ireland, and elsewhere.

Photo Credit: Staff