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Clarissa Jakobsons

Poet, artist, instructor, book artist, Clarissa Jakobsons was twice featured poet in Paris, France at “The Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore” and winner of the Akron Art Museum New Words Competition. Sample publications include: Glint Literary Journal, Hawaii Pacific Review, Lake, Ruminate, Tower Magazine, Qarrtsiluni, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, etc. She has conducted an ekphrastic poetry workshop at the Cleveland Museum of Art, sponsored by the Ohio Poetry Association. Her solo exhibition at Western Reserve Academy Moos Gallery, Hudson, Ohio combined artist books with her poems and paintings. Clarissa writes,“Don’t be surprised to see my inner artist kicking sandcastles, climbing Mount Diablo, painting Provincetown dunes, or writing under an Ohio crescent moon.”

The Last Stronghold

Breslau, the last stronghold of the Third Reich
against Soviet forces was scene to a siege lasting
14 weeks that cost the lives of 170,000 civilians.
An estimated 70% of the city was destroyed
by the Red Army.

My friend, I have a secret to share about mending
yellow stained papers. There’s something about neat
bundles buried years under. Sunlight brightens fractured
cobwebs in my sweaty palms. Father signed these papers
in dark ink. Spirits prowl flimsy records. Bear with me.

Consular Branch Office of the Political Adviser, Frankfurt am Main, May 1950


Birthplace: Pomedziai, Lithuania
Eye Color: Blue
Profession: Physician
Internment: Thorn, Breslaw, Posen, Leslau, and Stalingrad (6 years, 4 months, 12 days)

Father, tell me which was worse—
Stalin’s Gulag or Hitler’s concentration camps?
Do bodies stacked like river logs retain warmth,
or merely separate life from death?

Why Did You Leave Your Homeland: Fear. Russian Communists.
Lineage: Father died when I was six. Mother, disappeared in 1943.
Languages: I can speak and write Lithuanian, German, English, Russian, and Polish.

And I remember parental tongues rolling Lithuanian-Polish-Russian words into one scrambled secret sentence.

English Name: Mickevicius       Polish Name: Mitskewitsch
Destination: I want to be reunited with my family in Chicago.

Bare trees remain. The only witness.
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