Thursday 24 October 2019

In the Garden, Stuttgart

by Nancy Gerber

Captive forever in black and white,
my family seated in the garden.

Great Uncle Louis, Great Grandma Clara,
her daughters, Flora and Ilse,

my father, his sister Ruth,
their cousins Lore and Peter.

The year is 1930, my father seven.
No one imagines the gassings.

Five years later Flora is gone.
Felled by infection from an asylum,

her mind diseased
before her body.

My grandfather Kurt reappears
to care for his children

though he has married
another woman.

After the war, a reunion,
for those who are left.

The U.S. their new home.
Learn a new tongue.  Try to forget.

The garden still beckons but my father
returned only once.

I’ve never been, though at night
I dream of deep forests, rushing rivers

a woman’s voice calling Mein Leibschen,
a castle where everyone waltzes.

* * * * *

This poem is excerpted with permission from the author’s poetry chapbook, We Are All Refugees (New Feral Press, 2017). For more information or to order copies please contact Nancy Gerber at The author wishes to thank Beate Sigriddaughter for her support.

Nancy Gerber writes fiction, poetry, and essays. Her most recent book, A Way Out of Nowhere (Big Table Publishing), is a collection of short stories featuring female protagonists negotiating the complexities of relationships; it is available on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. I knew it had to come, but you lulled me so sublimely with beauty and familial peace that I still reeled from the startle when it came.