86 years ago, you were a child in Berlin,
cutting heart-shaped mouths out of newspapers
to keep you warm.
The golden buttons you buried in the ground
were eggs that hatched into wise cobras.
They lent you their glasses
and you sweetened their venom with sugar.
Rivers of black ink flowed down your cheeks
And Kurt Weil’s songs hung from your hair.
Your tongue left deep marks on lacy thighs,
but the crowns the dancers threw over their shoulders
were made of cheap cardboard.
You were seeking the holy red birds
for your abandoned castle.
86 years ago, I was swimming in a yellow jar
tied up in film rolls,
to keep my chest from growing,
dreaming of grey umbrellas with coloured handles
and of endless roofs.
Stray cats rubbed against my legs,
their amber eyes hiding the blood
of small, innocent creatures.
I paid in wet salt for cheap drinks
and wrapped Christmas trees in newspapers.
My face was reflected in windows of expensive shops,
while golden spheres turned to chipped glass.
I wiped my footsteps from the snow
and the holy red birds ran to hide
only when I called.