This is mine
Herr Wehner
he was our house-tutor
died early of phthisis
once he’d infected my youngest brother
who died of meningitis tuberculosa.

Came from Lissa
son of a blacksmith
always went around in wooden clogs
which was unusual with us
Liska his bride
stayed with us over Whitsun once
daughter of a police major
ergo different class
the giggling in the evenings
when the mosquitoes buzzed
and it was our bedtime,
but, as I heard later,
it was a rocky marriage.

Herr Wehner,
what makes him mine
is the fact that he is buried somewhere
rotting away in a collective farm in (now) Poland
no one in the village
will remember him
but he sometimes appears to me
grey and isolated
under certain historical aspects.

This Issue

April 30, 2009