Short, plump, elderly
German Jewish woman
Wandering into the shared kitchen,
Sniffing at my cooking
Saying “how can you eat such food Herr Schaufeld?
Come, have some of my good chicken.”
Mrs Brietman, marching into our small rented room
Changing the light bulb to a lower wattage
Turning off the electric fire
Shouting “I can’t afford this waste,”
Leaving me chilled
Marking exercise books in the semi darkness.
Taking a long holiday
trusting us to manage her flat
returning, only to mutter accusingly
“What have you done with my dressing gown, Herr Schaufeld?”
Before seeing it through bleary eyes
Hanging on its accustomed hook.
Playing bridge half the night
Sustained by endless cups of strong black coffee
One cigarette lit from another
A lone survivor planted in England’s Lane.