There were guards on the bridge spanning the Oder,
Slubice, the other East Germany.
They smiled at my mother and called to her
to have a cigarette, pass a little time.
She laughed, gently declined and we walked on
along the bank to where the daffodils grew wild.
My mother let go of my hand so she could pick
and I could run. As I ran I would bless
the swaying daffodil blooms with my small palms.
I’ve never felt so free again.
Back on the bridge
a guard whistled. Beside us the steady river
wound away my mother’s cares.
Now every Spring
I come to England to work in the fields
picking daffodils. I wear gloves and mostly
don’t recall how those bobbing yellow heads
brushed my hands.
Mostly I just bend and pick,
determined and quick, moving from row to row.
But sometimes I drink and think then of that border town
and the Oder, quietly unwinding, grey and slow,
the whistling guard and the small daffodils of home.