Whoever said a watched pot never boils
never listened to the soft hum of the water
as it unfurls into tendrils of steam,
never felt the rising heat warm his face in the morning chill,
never saw the lazy swirl of the surface
before it breaks into a song of bubbles,
into a cauldron of promises and spells
the watching of which keeps me,
for a moment,
on the threshold between the past and the future,
These days, when gatherings of more than two are prohibited, those who can, make the most of it. Never before have I seen so many couples walk hand in hand. Every day is Valentine’s Day, it seems, in this country of the emotionally restrained.
On the narrow sidewalk,
I see them coming
three of them.
We pass each other,
lips pressed together
in breathless smiles.
The candle in my neighbors’ kitchen window,
lit every single day at dawn.
The students in the German for Refugees class
who this week cleaned their teacher’s desk with disinfectant
before his arrival.
The smile of apology
on the face of the woman who sells me eggs this morning
as she avoids
touching my hand.
The elderly couple, holding on to each other
in the supermarket aisle
as they discuss
The children screaming with laughter as they race each other down the street
in the sunshine.
On my bike ride to work
I lock horns with the wind
I curse as I pedal and curse.
Someone glides past me.
She guides her sleek ride with one hand.
In the other, a large flowering branch.
“Take this!” says the wind
and fills my mouth
with apple blossoms.
Last night on the radio
experts expressed their hope for herd immunity
once the infection rate has reached 50, 60, 70 percent.
In the meantime they trust, they say, in the
responsible conduct of
to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable.
I am torn.
Is it admirable, this faith
in our civility?
Or just naïve?
These days, there are so many things
we seem to just want to
Bruised by our atrocious history
we Germans shy away
from severe measures.
We don’t curtail (any kind of) freedom lightly,
Today's Pan(dem)ic Poem.
We wait for the streetcar.
We try not to stand too close to the edge,
not too close to each other,
The crowd parts like the Red Sea before Moses
to let him pass.
I have to laugh.
This is serious business.
(Things I thought when I went to buy toilet paper
during the Corona Virus Pandemic)
The Chinese thought of you first: paper
for the emperor’s spotless behind.
Back when the rest of us used moss,
or grass, or sticks and stones,
bones and corncobs,
wool and lace
if we were rich,
the water of running streams,
1890 two brothers put you on a roll,
and off you went,
to help us clean up
and prank and celebrate and take revenge,
and now, it seems, we have forgotten
how to live without you.
You comfort us,
also sold out.
(Anna Witte, March 10, 2020)
A little about myself:
Hello there and thank you for visiting my website! I have lived in Spain, Mexico, France and the United States, but now make my home in Germany. I have a Ph.D. in Literary Studies and a Master's in TESOL, and have published several books for children, among them El Loro Tico Tango and El Fandango de Lola, a 2012 Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book. As a writer and an artist I'm in constant conversation with my own anxious mind even as I celebrate the joyful possibilities of our crazy, incomprehensible world.