I remember the smell of freshly cut grass and sunscreen;
Hot days filled with riding lawnmowers, and pristine Colorado country;
There, far off in the distance, ranges of mountains yawned
As if the Earth sprang forward a thicket of jagged teeth to devour us all.
That did not scare me. Nor did the cotton-like webs of spiders
Whose presence you warned, saying “Don’t go near them!”
You had the slightest German accent I could not detect.
How mom would comment on it, and others. I never learned your mother tongue.
I still have questions for you. For instance: what was it like to live through a war? Or two, even three?
You were on the battlegrounds, weren’t you—civilians, hair up in braids.
Poor German girls within the culling doctrine of Nazis;
As brutal as your Soviet occupiers of rapists and thieves.
Digging holes in the yard to hide precious family heirlooms.
You would leave them behind one day for America.
And here you would find more wars, a family, age, and forgetfulness.
And how that last one would claim you—I will not forgive time, or myself.
Outside my window there is no grass. No mountains.
No spiders with webs like cotton mines.
But there are pictures of you, here: warm and mindful.
There are pictures of me as a child doing chores, cutting the grass.
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