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Seven days of bridges and wooden shoes, seven days of wine and schnapps

and sweet, skinned, boned herring out of the melting sea.

Itís the season of the herring. Seven barges float by like ghosts.

 

The willow wood of your shoes protects you from pewter skies when

the clouds shed their skins and pelt down liquid bones.

Seven days of bridges and wooden shoes, seven days of wine and schnapps.

 

You swear a thimble of gin loosens up the tongue. Tongue-tied

you feel like a man who has lost a leg. You favor hand-loomed wool.

Itís the season of the herring. Seven barges float by like ghosts

 

out of memoryís past. They raise flags: words at the end

of each sentence when your mouth snaps closed like a box.

Seven days of bridges and wooden shoes, seven days of wine and schnapps

 

to bridge your fatherís silence after he lost a leg in the war.

War barges in on wooden shoes at each turn of the helm.

Itís the season of the herring. Seven barges float by like ghosts.

 

One day your voice will come back melting like sweet herring

on your tongue. But now silence is the rule.

Seven days of bridges and wooden shoes. Seven days of wine and schnapps.

Itís the season of the herring. Seven barges float by like ghosts.

 

______________________
©Renata Treitel, 2000

 

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