Mother didn’t talk much.

Didn’t want to fall foul

of the thought police.

There was the ugly guy with the cruel, crooked mouth

who owned the house and loved his chickens.

He believed.


‘Heil Hitler’.

We’d brought our blackboards.

My old teacher had a desk on a raised platform.


When it was all over,

Mother hung out a white sheet

from the bedroom window.


The new teacher taught us Russian.

Bald underneath this huge black fur hat.

His yellow teeth as large as a horse’s. Threw

that unruly boy down the school’s stone steps.


The wheels of tanks looming over me.

My brother made me an airplane from balsawood.

We continued to listen to AFN Europe—

my brother had crafted a crystal radio

from a cigar box.


The Russians changed the street names

and the portraits on the school walls.


Rose Mary Boehm

Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as seven poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her latest: Do Oceans Have Underwater Borders? (Kelsay Books July 2022), Whistling in the Dark (Cyberwit July 2022), and Saudade (December 2022) are available on Amazon.

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