I pace across my living room,
hitting the walls,
like an animal in its cage.
I cannot concentrate on the movie I have to translate,
or on the assignment I have to write.
She didn’t say when,
but I can feel she is on her way now.
Always carrying a bag too heavy,
cutting into her arm.
We don’t need anything, mother, I tell her.
We are fine.
But she doesn’t listen.
She has apples to bring,
too much lunch that she cooked for herself and my father,
a cake that she just made with a new recipe,
my kids would love.
There is something she needs to tell me in person.
Always a reason for her to come.
I can see her holding onto the ropes,
and looking into the whirls of the Danube that is all colours but blue,
pushing her way through the crowd to get a spot
before the raft is too full and can hold no more bodies.
As if now, when the bridge is in pieces at the river bottom,
she has this urgent business to attend to.
I bite my nails, already too short.
I hear a blast far away.
Maybe muffled by the water. Where is she?
I imagine her body floating on the cold surface of the river,
I can see her expression surprised but determined,
lips shut tight, maybe swearing at the sky.
I try to push away the image of her blue jacket bloated
and the apples carried by the current.
Stay at home, I say. We are ok.
Do they have time to escape if they see the planes?
I don’t ask and she doesn’t mention.
She doesn’t talk about it.
It is nothing important, a regular commute.
And every day, she comes.