(04 October 1943 / Germany)

Saying G'Day

The sight of her was just enough
to make him blink, all traces of
the booze they'd served him
so incessantly, Jack on the rocks,
did vanish and his face lit up
in an exotic smile of plain veneer.

How could she be this old,
the years had not been kind;
though he was here now, unprepared
and fidgeting to chase the ghosts
and find his wobbly feet again.

A meal had been prepared, his favourite,
a pile of wood leaned near the stove
it seemed to have a mind to topple
onto the dog-haired rug with all its stains,
the dog had wisely sought the couch.

It was too hot in there, he knew they did
not mind the snow and ice outside,
would play for days on end and freeze
but houses were like boiling sanctuaries
inside, designed perhaps to make you limp
and docile in your heated, clammy skin.

It was the taste of course, that from his youth
and soon the ambience subtly changed,
he'd brought red Chile wine, well chilled
and presents from the past to see her smile.

Her body changed, it mellowed in the light
of a preposterous and cobwebbed chandelier,
they tasted amber spirits, warm and neat,
no Kraut keeps ice no matter what, well not inside.

The stars had left the little village far behind,
upstairs was black, it was the colour of old sin.
And with the snowflakes came a sudden squeak,
she'd found the covers made of noble poultry down.

He could not see nor quite recall the very size,
they must have grown in all those lazy years,
it's what he took with him into a stupored sleep
a stunning sight that graced the sheets that early dawn.

A huge dilemma hung about and would not leave,
too much in spirits made the memory go gray,
she'd served him eggs with a quick pursing of her lips
it would be surely a most wonder-laden day.

The snow was deep, the dog showed them the road,
two lonely birds demanded handouts at the bridge,
an aging rabbit teased them all up near the ridge
where cress and comfrey hid beneath an inch of white.

A winter salad after hours on the range,
bones frozen solid and the village now in sight,
He found the size of them quite normal now, not strange
and all the rest of life seemed actually quite right.

by Herbert Nehrlich

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