A chill wind swept through the church, the candle flames flickered
I prayed to swap places with my daughter’s tormentor.
How could my mother inhabit the mind of my shy twelve-year-old?
I hear her at night, speaking fluent German, a language she knows nothing about.
How had I missed the signal, the hints my daughter dropped?
Questions like was her grandmother German
My answer had to be yes, for I never lied to her.
“Did she beg to come with you when you left Germany?”
Too many things I had never spoken to her about.
My wife died in her sleep, I believe my mother’s hatred of her
or more, had something to do with her death.
It had been a tough decision to leave with my eight-month-old daughter.
How would I manage a small bundle and make a life?
I have, and will not let old hatred take it from me.
I lit a candle, telling my mother, “She is mine, you cannot have her.”
Maybe it was speaking my mother tongue after all these years
that inhibits the spectre, but my daughter no longer speaks late at night
in a language I never again want to hear from her sweet lips…