When we landed and commuted,
and finally entered through the front door on cobblestone,
into a courtyard lit from afternoon sun,
flowers overflowing from terracotta pots on the stairs,
I thought of you.
When little Kathi walked toward us
holding the bottom of her dress in one hand,
the bottom of Maria’s dress in the other,
I wished you could have seen it.
The street cars show up often and go everywhere,
the metro is clean and quiet.
The coffee is good here.
You can still smoke inside some places.
Restaurants and cafes expect you will stay all day.
In Schwedenplatz, which is a metro stop near the river,
the outside cafes are crowded, and there is a Wurstelstand
where a grey haired man speaks English and German with the same
thick, low voice. He sells us Kasakrainer, it is pork sausage
filled with melted cheese, stuffed into a toasted baguette.
I eat by the river and think of you.
I wake in the middle of the first night in our student room,
the window over my bed opened out toward the sky,
and a storm has broken. I am gasping and soaking wet,
I dreamt I was drowning at sea.
At 6:30 a.m. I dress in a black skirt, and blue shirt, and grey shoes.
At the last minute I decide on red lipstick.
I am the only one in the city with red lips,
and this makes me feel safe.
I take the 40 street car from Spittelgasse to Volksapse and
transfer to a metro that rides high above the city for four stops.
The place I work is called Millenium Tower.
It is like the Upper East Side of Vienna, a tower
rising out of the center of a large shopping center.
The floors are marble.
The elevators are mirrored and there are no buttons.
It just opens to where you are supposed to be.
I arrive fifteen minutes early to an empty office,
Adge, my days are from 9-5. I sit around a conference table
with sparkling water and pharmacy students.
We are learning how chemotherapy is prepared.
I need to be comfortable with the language and process.
How can anyone be comfortable talking about such things?
I nod and squint my eyebrows, and I am understanding more
than I thought I would. I keep inserting names of people I love
for the John Doe’s and the Test Patient 1’s, and it gives me the willies.
After work I take the same route home,
and fall into my bed for a nap.
Everything is happening fast.
When Brandy comes back we explore.
We picnic in the courtyards of castles.
We wander into gardens near our place.
We sit at a cafe and drink tea before bed.
I’m doing things I hadn’t planned for Adge.
I am tired and happy I think.
I miss you every time I see something beautiful.
I wonder what you’re doing right now.