Remembrances before my Time

April 15, 2016/May 1, 2016

The remembered village had stone houses
on a sloping cobbled street
where she fetched milk in a pail
past the field where later
he strode manly in wool pants
suspenders over a white shirt
rolled sleeves of a workman
and she was smitten

Nevermind that in the picture
the house was a brick
rowhouse, where all in a row
she was born, then me
in the same bed
filling the front bedroom
the other rooms unknown

Understandable confusion
she might be my twin
elder twin
yet in those twenty years
so little had changed
save the great cataclysm 
of the twentieth century,
if you hadn’t been there
as I had not

Twenty years in that same bed
same house and street
same Anglo-Saxon villagers
with their cats and dogs
and the fateful pub
and the pram at the bottom of the garden
Yet some of the boys had gone
to the Panzers and screaming fighters
the dull drone of bombers
the smell of damp wool and gunpowder
and not come back

Backlit by the gray English sky
he’d strode across that field
just like in the picture show
I can’t even say where
never having been there
I’ll always be there
crushed by the Reich
in lice-ridden trenches, 
barefoot in the shimmering jungle
dreaming of his mother.

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