Fire, Ruins, Flora, Forgetting

Lynnette Widder

In "Fire, Ruins, Flora, Forgetting," published in the Oxonian Review, Lynnette Widder reflects on architecture and war-time decimation, reconstruction and memory.

“My second apartment was in a house that had lost its western half. Two walls of my bedroom, icy all winter, had never been intended to face the elements. The cold that moved through them was a kind of perpetual missing limb syndrome. On visits to East Berlin, I could board an elevated train at the Friedrichstrasse border crossing. As the train took a bend just before Marx-Engels Platz, the city skyline appeared through a grove of young lindens growing from the ruined walls of the National Gallery. All five of my maternal uncles had seen active U.S. military duty in the 1940s. In the albums that showed them in uniform, the War was as unaffecting as an old movie. In Berlin, the Natural History of Destruction was still everywhere, embedded in the everyday.”

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