berlin album

Berlin album

women who look like my mother
men who look like Helmut Kohl
on the flight unloading at Frankfurt
before the jet to Tegel much flesh
around the waist and trimness too, white shirts
and blue-striped ties

- a Slavic family, young mother bitter, in her arms
fat child bouncing, father
resigned to airline irregularity, pushes a stroller
blond hair sticking up
older child running in the crowd
and his job to control her

 - Turkish driver speeding deep into the city
 - women (wind in hair, open faces
cheekbones upright and slanting)
leap from paving stones onto bikes

 - rows of five-storey apartments
 - police guarding synagogues - graffiti -
massive museums and along Oranienburgerstrasse
men drinking beer outdoors
rows of stained tables
some serious toughness
turned inward
            would their fathers have killed
            as commanded, sped
            into Poland before they
            were killed, blood rushing back?
             -and new birds this first day, I keep hearing
            the unseen bird of Berlin
            like a robin, sweeter
            and once a shape
darting over children led by young women
thick braids
singing down the street, German
tumbling soft, some faces apple right