Monday, March 16, 2020

Eichengrün in Terezín, 1944

By Peg Duthie 

Fingers numb
from lack of insulin
and lack of heat

he sighs
at the tremors
almost thwarting
his placing
of the paper
into the typewriter. 

He is here
because his stationery
did not include “Israel”
within his name.

It had not mattered
that his name was not included
on the US patent for aspirin

back when it had not mattered
that he was Jewish.

He is a man of science,
trained to examine
all the possibilities.
Once upon a time,
they’d earned him homes
and tailored clothes,
a handsome car
and a yacht,

but now
he has nothing
except the truth

so he types
the whole history
of what really happened
at Farbenfabriken Bayer:

his supervision of Hoffmann,
his defiance of Dreser—
Dreser, whose name
appears with Hoffmann’s
as co-inventor of aspirin
in Munich’s Hall of Honour.

A man used to secretaries,
Eichengrün types slowly.

He has never been
the praying type,
but now he prays
he will not run out
of paper

or time.

Peg Duthie is the author of Measured Extravagance (Upper Rubber Boot, 2012). She works at a museum in Nashville and dances from Asheville to New London. There's more about her at, and she tweets @zirconium.

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