GERMAN WAR BRIDE
She is alone in the church when usually
I am alone in the church,
one sleeve pulled over her hand
to wipe beneath her eyes, left to right.
When I sit down behind her she stops.
I can see a card on the pew beside her
with a man dressed in brown on it,
he is helping a young woman stand up
beside a faded blue fountain,
or maybe he is proposing to her
or kissing her ring, maybe she is a queen?
Beneath the tiny painting it says
Heilige Gerhard, Saint Gerard.
She is German. The lines running down
her face and neck are fine.
She stares straight ahead.
I say, “Bist du…shit…zufrieden?”
which is actually “Is you…shit…content?”
She shakes her head and whispers “Nein.”
We both stare straight ahead.
The children of the parish have drawn pictures
for the altar, all of them showing Mary
who touches her belly with one hand,
reaches for Elizabeth with the other.