Trent Nutting


She spoke in puffs and grunts
of rough German, teaching,
her hands warm on the dough.

I balanced on the counter
to avoid a spilling circle
of flour, mesmerized

by abracadabra of the baum
and wald she whispered
to the kitchen window,

still new as I was
to the peculiarities
of my first and only tongue.

She'd smuggled words back
from the base in Nuremburg,
the black-art of language

pocketed in her mouth
like Houdini's secret key.
My grandfather resigned to lean upon

the long reach of English,
navigating the victualienmarkt
and cavernous beer halls by nod.

Now, the fulfillment
of the right words is slow
yeast in my mouth,

thirty years to rise, the alchemy
of time and conversion, the long
wait at the toweled bowl's lip.

Trent Nutting's poems have appeared in Hayden's Ferry Review, The Cortland Review, Southeast Review, and elsewhere.

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