Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Sunning in the Courtyard, Nannerl Mozart, 1829

Sunning in the Courtyard, Nannerl Mozart, 1829

By Sharon Chmielarz

Neighbors passing through the courtyard
greet la vieille, the clavierist, the former
prodigy, Mozart's sister, a shell washed up
on the shore, no, a snail advancing under
the arch of the last century toward a bench
at the stucco wall. Her place to sit and sun.
Die Freiherrin von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg.
The blind one, the widow, the aunt, the dark
sack of silk and wool and hair, the distant
mother and teacher, the moon with wig
threadbare in May sunlight. La Madame
de Sonnenbourg. Nannerl. In her lap
her hands can't lie still, an old habit, to
play, or pluck at a thread, to marvel
at the continual length of an unraveling –
she woke again this morning – to wind
it around her finger and wait for the brief
show of resistance when snapped off.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 73, No. 1 (Spring 1999), p. 69


Sharon Chmielarz's ninth book is Visibility: Ten Miles, a Prairie Memoir in Photography and Poetry  (2015).  Her The Other Mozart was made into an opera.  You can hear her read poems on www.sharonchmielarz.com.

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