An old woman in a purple dress

is outside kneeling on a curved brick

patio. It is 1989, Dresden in the summer

and perhaps I am the only one

aware that the bricks were collected

from the nursery that once stood

where she is kneeling. Dresden was

bombed in 1945. People

collected pieces of the nursery,

to make patios. The hanging

flowerpot outside my window is a helmet

filled with dirt. It is a part of the past

and people have absorbed it all.

There are bees here, with pollen clinging

like yellow socks. They visit every flower

in the garden. It looks like a labor of love,

the way they dive in, immersing themselves

in the petals—like desperate children

jumping into swimming pools.

On the table the newspaper is open

to a picture of a man carrying two grocery bags.

He is in Tiananmen Square, a place I

was unaware of until today. He is standing

in front of a column of tanks. Inside

each tank are crying soldiers. Men

ordered to turn on their brothers.

The old woman outside my window

smiles up at me, unaware of the past.

She is a purple thing, a part of the garden.

Today she could be anywhere

and be unaware. Today is the best day

of her life—her mind slips when she gardens.

  • Glenn Lyvers