Holiday 2015 - THE POTOMAC

Two Poems


Danuta E. Kosk–Kosicka

Sunday Like No Other

                           Baltimore, 1981

Third floor, left, first door. He opens, smiling wide.
She is early. His suitcases line the wall.
He hasn't heard; he doesn't know. She steps over the threshold.
"You can't go home, this morning the general in his dark
shades declared martial law."
His green eyes, his impeccable manners from Old Europe.
"But Sarah, you will take me to the airport, right?"

Her car radio repeats the world news, "Martial law in Poland.
No travel allowed. Phones disconnected. Tanks in the streets.
Solidarność banned. Curfew at 20:00."

At the airport he presents his return ticket to Warsaw.
His will be the last flight.
"Don't go into that darkness," she repeats in her head.

The call for boarding. His green eyes.
Head high, he walks toward the exit.
Her arm lifts and waves. The door shuts.


Independent in East Berlin

Her father was a good German.
Her room alone was bigger than
my family's Warsaw apartment.
Beyond the huge windows looking out
on the blank expanse of Karl–Marx–Allee
I imagined parades marching down to the Alexander Platz.
No sounds penetrated the walls. I couldn't even hear
her parents in the other rooms.
She covered the caged bird for the night.
She did not listen to the Western broadcast
streaming from the other side of the Wall.
No need, she said, to get confused.
All songs on the radio were in German, so for her
they were German. I learned the words as we sang.
She traveled widely, east and south, not west,
with her parents or a friend, or alone
when she came to spend her vacations with my family.
She moved out into a tiny apartment near her parents,
decorated it with plush red wallpaper, and door-sized
photo posters. I brought one back to Warsaw—
light filtered through autumnal red maples—a marvel.
Her new baby slept alone when we went out.
She assured me, No problem.
In five years she got married for her son
to have a family when she died a few months later.
What would she have said and done when the Wall
in her Berlin came down?

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