Authors and Poets
Authors and Poets

Photos used with permission from the Academy of American Poets

Last updated:
November 19, 2017
Lori M. Cameron, editor

Letter to Anne Frank – Priscilla Atkins

Spring 1997, vol. 1, no. 1

Dear Anne,

The first time I read your diary
I was young, like you; we walked
through autumn leaves on a sunny day,
everything crisp and clear,
every footstep, a reassurance.
Now, I know the ending:
the Gestapo at the bookcase,
the school friend’s glimpse of you-
ill, dying-through the barbed
wire at Bergen-Belsen,
the letters to Kitty strewn on the floor
of the Secret Annex.
The knowing, coming and going,
I walk the range of your discernments,
their cool clefts and warm fusions,
the fierce light shining
into the hidden parts
tucked in folds of the body and heart.
I think of you now, a woman,
growing right along beside me,
leaning over my shoulder
as I copy passages into my book.
Here, Anne, look—one of my favorites:
I’ll just let matters take their course
and concentrate on studying
and hope that everything
will be all right in the end.
Listen, my pen whispers your words,
for me, for you,
like a prayer.

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