Standing on the tarmac at Munich, rolling
new words around my mouth. Hübsch. Süß. Liebling. Mein Liebe.
I like them all.
I’m not sure I like you as well, but your face
anchored by your tender mouth
floats beside me in the falling mist—
your smiles, too, rising falling rising—
a barometer ticking off the measure of my tempers.
In two days we never once
mentioned Grass, Heine, Hesse or the rest of
the 27 Deutsch writers I’d memorized
in alphabetical order
to impress you
You were too busy searching for my heart.
Implacable American. (There.
I said it for you.)
I was too busy building castles.
Now the fairytale mist gathers into real rain drops.
You lean into my shoulder for warmth. Again,
your timing is off, for
I’m shivering with cold and isolation.
Your precise lips part and form the words to
the first American ballad you ever learned:
“Are you lonesome tonight?” you croon
in sweet imitation of the King.
©2006 E.M. Jeffrey