What Remains
by Anna Halberstadt Anna Halberstadt

Born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania, Anna Halberstadt moved to Moscow at the age of eighteen to study psychology at Moscow State University. She immigrated to New York twelve years later to attend Hunter College, where she earned a degree in social work. Since 1980, she has worked as a clinician, teacher, and administrator of mental health clinics specializing in the adaptation of immigrants, with a special interest in immigrants from the former Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries.

She has published many works in her field of psychology but has found poetry to be a more adequate and condensed way to expand on the same themes—growing up as a child of Holocaust survivors in a country still struggling with past trauma, living in three countries (Lithuania, Russia, U.S.), and immigration. Her creative work has been published by Bluestem, Cimarron Review, Forge, St. Petersburg Review, and Tiferet, and translations of her poems in the Lithuanian journals Literatūra Ir Menas and Šiaurės Atėnai, and she studied with Saskia Hamilton and Eileen Myles.

is the softness of your salt and pepper curls
between my fingers,
coarse hair like a small brush
on the small of your back,
tobacco on your breath
that eventually killed you.
Your baritone
with a tinge of hoarseness
forceful when pronouncing
the first A of my name.
Your handsome hands
a little scar on your left cheek
you lying in the bedroom
in the dark after the surgery
trusting me to be there,
bring you tea.
Falling asleep in an embrace
waking up
and registering joy
I had never felt before.
You'd given me something
something I have no way
of putting in words.
But I remember the gaudy paper moon
hanging from the ceiling
and silver stars
on blue wallpaper
in your small bedroom.

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