so, what’s it like living in Germany
Sarah J. Sloat

The new world sleeps
into the burning stub of afternoon,
and who is making things tock?
Folk skim like sandals over hardwood
though their insides
are soft and uncertain
They walk with purpose, for underground
the grass tangles around itself
the greenest grass, zaftig,
the grass that has not stopped hurting.

In the crook of rivertowns, they crown a winequeen—
she comes down the hill, hands clasped
in bracelets of grapes. Globulous,
trembling and feminine, she comes
heavy with the runoff of the Rhine.

On St. Martin’s day, in half-cloaks and tatters
they sink a lantern in the river. From the underbelly,
the pebble bed, a flame
glows in its rainy chambers.

There is no more agony to speak of.
It’s gone hunched; it cannot feed itself in public
without drool and deaf ears
but it lurks in dark apartments
like an unacknowledged lust
or a granny, loquacious at a windowsill.

In summer when youth splinters into spores, skeletons
shake loose from the dandelions,
launching from their pistilstacks.
Engines shudder in bones
and tracks, where trams rattle
past the separate shops:
butcher, baker, milk & cheese—
like the backdrop to some puppet village.

To each its place: fruits fall into baskets,
an old tear haunts the schnapps.
The children sleep sound in their beds,
the children who have not yet been told.

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