Another bash at NaPoWriMo

The Morning Opa Died


That morning Mamma hid behind her face,

Pappa behind the post. ‘Have more toast,’ she said.

‘And as a treat for going into town, you can have an ice cream.’

I think she was crying but I was too excited,

hadn’t time for tears, didn’t notice the grief in the air

Pappa laid the black-edged mail upon the breakfast table.

‘A telegram,’ he said. ‘Ellie, child, your Granddad’s…’

I never heard. I must have been running for the bus

when he said the word


Rundfahrt, bitte,’ I said, handing over 90 pfennigs.

The conductor smiled at this pretend grown-up, watched

as she tugged down starched net petticoats to hide shy knees.


Lindeman Strasse, Grafenburg Allee,

Stauffen Platz und Kein Durch Weg.


My first trip to town unaccompanied. No parents to heed

or make me miss things; the Steiff ‘Mecki’

I longed to own, or the blue shiny beads in the shop

by the square, diamante slides for mother’s dark hair,

the black patent bar-shoes and, for once, time to choose,

even change my mind, about which ice cream I’d pick,


Erdbeer, citron, ananas, lakritz

or perhaps plain vanilla und schlag’?


I mustn’t forget the reason for my trip to town.

In my bag, a note for Fraulein Schmitz, the tailoress

about calling to take-in a black dress and, because

it was a cool May, maybe make a bolero to match.

I didn’t know, but it was written down

and the day was too golden, too bright,

to be spoilt by mamma’s clouded eyes or pappa’s frown.

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