Nancy Jentsch — “Left Behind”

I squat by the shelves,
caught like a moth
in the dull-ocher book
Onkel Martin left behind.

I flutter past
gray-scale plates portraying
“The Door of Everlasting Life”
cast in Hildesheim, 1015

and alight on words,
letters my lips sound out:
Maria und das Kind.
My grandfather’s vest

buttons smile, pulled
tight with pride
as I slit the chrysalis
of English,

emerge yearning
for the language
his parents left behind.


Nancy Jentsch has taught German and Spanish for over thirty years at Northern Kentucky University. She has published scholarly articles, short fiction and poetry in journals such as Journal of Kentucky Studies, Eclectica, Aurorean, and Blinders. Her chapbook, Authorized Visitors, has been published by Cherry Grove Collections, an imprint of WordTech Communications (2017). Seven of her ekphrastic poems appear in the collaborative chapbook Frame and Mount the Sky (2017). Her Facebook writer’s page is https://www.facebook.com/NancyJentschPoet/.