My doll Seele got lost, Sir
she babbles out.
I tell her the doll didn’t get lost,
that I saw her leaving town,
that she gave me a letter for her,
that she seemed happy when she waved goodbye.
Her eyes sparkle as I promise to read it out loud
and her mother smiles approvingly:
we arrange to meet again, the following day.
Back at home I tell Dora about the little girl,
she says You are an adorable creature, Franz.
And Seele writes back everyday from afar,
and how delightful her travels are,
and how fascinating the wondrous people she meets,
and how fantastic all that prevents her from coming back,
and how exciting falling head over heels for a charming Doll,
and how thrilling setting off with him to a foreign land.
Three weeks after leaving Berlin
Seele’s last letter arrived.
I was taken up by guilt
but the little girl was almost happy,
enthralled by Seele’s adventures:
she hugged me and told me to wish her good luck.
In Berlin, days are grim
and whenever silence weighs down on me
I take a walk in Steglitz Park:
when I get back home
Dora always seems to find her way
around my heart.
("The Writer and the Girl" first appeared in the Poetic Republic Poetry Competition E-book (http://www.poeticrepublic.com), 2013 [USA])