My Life where Dresden Used to Be

morning, small blondes carrying cakes
and my brother doing equations
on the good linen napkins
my mother kept for company.

There are many ways of being scolded.
We knew when Mother’s lipstick smeared
how unhappy she was, and fed us
Butterbrot as if it were a sin to eat at all.

When the Soviet gunners made Kamps
on Altmarkt The Red Star instead,
when they raped my sister twice,
we took the knives from the drawer

but could do nothing with them. It was hot
that March and my mother put the silver
in the hollowed-out Goethe, mumbling
könnte sein, könnte sein. I ate my fingers,

pretending they were potatoes, and prayed
the Americans were closer than Freiberg.
Goebbels on the radio said we must love
one another as der Führer loves us.

My father, dead in Leipzig, knew better
than to live. Deprived of water, that long
summer’s end, he hanged himself
on a bed sheet and never landed.

About the Author

Carl Boon lives in Izmir, Turkey, where he teaches courses in American culture and literature at 9 Eylül University. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Posit, The Maine Review, and Diagram. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Boon recently edited a volume on the sublime in American cultural studies.