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“Miroslav Tichý,” “Miroslav Tichý, Untitled,” “The Subject Covers Her Face”



Sunbathes on a roof. He goes on trial.
In 1972, his studio is destroyed.
He makes a lens. He calls the erotic
a dream anyway. He paints; he stops painting.
He photographs women, always:
women in dresses, women undressed.
Thin strap(s). Women, languid
under trees. Touching an ankle.
He becomes an enemy of the state.
Under light state-surveillance
he surveils women in various states,
in various lights. He reads
Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, claims:

when I take a photograph I don’t think about anything.


Semi-blurred image of semi-nude
woman, blurred.

A kind of mourning,
in sixties swimsuit.

Her half-body,

Grass rotting around the pool.
Somewhere there’s music.

The subject covers her face.


April. Emulsion in the reeds, like a blouse.
Spoken aloud—blouse—that word a small glass.
So many small glasses in the intimate narrative:
My great-grandparents’ in my grandparents’ sunken,
formal room in Florida, far removed from origin;
my neighbor’s equally ancestral set,
given to my parents in thin paper
blouses. My father visits the neighbor’s grave
for years. I can’t see him in anything but winter.
In colder months, I wear a blue silk scarf
a wealthier man gave my mother.
Now that I am the age she had her third child,

I have devoted my life to sentimentality.

Alisha Dietzman is the author of "Sweet Movie" (Beacon Press 2023), selected by Victoria Chang for the 2022 National Poetry Series, and shortlisted for the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize in 2024. Her chapbook, "Slow Motion Something For No Reason," received the Tomaž Šalamun Prize Editors’ Choice Award (Factory Hollow Press 2022).

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