Inconnue de la Seine by Annie Diamond

Jul 8, 2019 | Bubbler

Born near 1870, she did not get her epithet
until 1926–Unknown Woman of the Seine.

Camus called her a drowned Mona Lisa;
suitable, as she was pulled from the river

at the Quai du Louvre, the museum where
Mona Lisa has been since 1797. Inconnue

an apparent suicide, because she bore no sign
of violence. Her age has been estimated at 16.

Pathologist at the Paris Morgue found her
so beautiful he commissioned a death mask.

Copies of the mask fashionable as wall hangings,
bohemian Paris. This mask used to model Resusci

Anne, CPR mannequin, in 1958. Rescue Annie.
European art has preserved Inconnue as the girl

who killed herself for want of love, but she has the most
kissed face of all time– inspired this most famous Annie,

inspired even Michael Jackson in 1987. Inconnue has
survived in Laerdal Medical plastic, in French plaster.

One shop, once on the Left Bank, now
forced to the concrete suburbs of Paris

thanks to rising rent, still pebbles death mask copies,
same shop where the pathologist ordered his original.

Copies go for 100 euros,
more with a glazed finish.

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Annie Diamond is a Connecticut native living and working presently in Chicago. Her poems have appeared most recently in The Indianapolis Review and The Laurel Review and are forthcoming in Rabbit Catastrophe Review, The Tishman Review, The Cardiff Review, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships by The MacDowell Colony, The Lighthouse Works, The University of Chicago, and Boston University, where she completed her MFA in 2017.