The German teacher

She laughed and tilted her head back

She was laughing at something I had said

About traffic lights.

Something about the bus driver always wanting them to be green

But they were mostly red and often yellow.

She had green eyes.

She sat under the tree and watched us play

Then she would call us to her, and we would sit around her

Shaking out her dress so the dry grass cuttings would fall

she told us about her desire to go to sea in a sailing boat

and her dream to train guide dogs.

Then, opening a book, she would read to us.

The sun dancing through the leaves and the smell of sweat dry air

Still play in my memory.

Her blonde hair, German accent, made her so unique.

In the evenings, dad would make me collect firewood.

I would load the wheelbarrow and push it past the school to her house

And there I would stack her firewood hutch.

She would stand at the back door and watch me.

I would carry a few logs into the house and fill her wood box next to the fire.

The shelves in her living room were filled with books

And I would sit on her lounge chair, waiting to receive a cup of hot chocolate and a biscuit.

She would sit next to me and tell me about her holiday in Africa or her hometown.

Then, when it became dark and the fire had warmed the room,

I would reluctantly rise and walk home in the cold.

Always I would spend too long at her house.

Those winter nights felt like a great romance to me.

The lovers

In the green stretches of my farm

Someone long ago piled stones

Forming small pyramids at random points, no taller than a suitcase.

I dismantled one today, lifting the heavy stones one by one into a trailer to be taken away.

I worked carefully, each stone a part of a city,

Populated with small black beetles,

Spiders, lizards, and slugs.

As I lifted the last stones into the trailer

I found two small frogs

Their brown arms wrapped around each other, their bodies entwined.

It appeared as if they were lovers; in such terror at the destruction of their home

They found comfort in an embrace.

To me, however, as I stood above them vast and terrible, a stone in each hand

To me, they looked as if they had been sleeping

And as lovers sleep,

In a fond embrace.

It was a world of dreams and heartbeats

Each with eyes closed, mouths pressed together

Breathing the same air

A silent kiss, a love in this stone temple,

Safe from the world, witnessed only by the beetles

And now they were exposed to the world, to the rude white light

And a giant.

I scooped them up and placed them in the next pile of rocks and waited

Until they were inside

Safe from the world, from which they must hide.