Between Templin and New Jersey

The ancestors were überall

in East Germany and they were holidaying in her mind.

She’d invited them there, so it was your fault.

My fault—a favorite line of hers

disposed onto her by her source. The feelings

are too big, so she’ll whitewash them

as any white person does.

 

Let’s forget the past. It’s past.

At once a line

of great mercy from someone

like a shrink, and in the same moment, a line

of terrible Vergesslichkeit.

 

It’s something the Germans don’t do

very easily after the atrocities

they progenitor-ed. She was only

a little German

far-removed American, sort of—

so when she lauft on the Straßen

the dissonance tore her in two.

 

Am I one or both?

Complicit or duplicitous or political?

It felt Confucian and confusing.

She insisted on making her life

strange and complicated.

Was she a Verrückterin, a trickster

or just an idiot?

 

There you go again, going too far.

It was the voice

of her mutter again. The language

could be the problem at this point—that

and she kept forgetting her legs, kept forgetting

her endowment and facilities.

 

You are an idiot, a numbskull, a dummkopf—

Mother, shut up.

 

Somewhere between Templin and New Jersey

the loss obliterated her inheritance.

Her long-lost cousin

would help her remember.

She felt too stupid

to do it herself.

 

Halt deinen mund—

Closed minded.

Unenlightened and ignorant.

MLK Jr. knew

to demand your freedom.

You wouldn’t even know

what to do with it.

 

She was waiting to be rescued

but she didn’t deserve it.

Her feet were yelling at her

wooden clogs on a cobblestone street

in the stench of summer.

 

Cinderella investments

were on their way. She didn’t want to lose

everything, but she was afraid

she would never amount to anything more

than a pumpkin.

What are you looking for?