It was a spectacular spring: sparrows bickering in the trees, the street carts
smelling of syrupy cashews in front of the Jewish Museum—
you bought flowers, said Hi to the Afghan guards, got a croissant and a café au lait.
At first, every day seemed like someone else’s dream:
you were there, you said, because you were writing a novel,
but mainly you were drinking the overly sweet, gratis prosecco at the Nationalgalerie.
You felt something like love for Kirchner’s Potsdamer Platz, the prostitute’s hat.
How is the research going? Have you read the new Rooney?
You wore silver heels to the new Odeon and cried during the Iranian movie
when the actress eats a salted pomegranate in the dark.
Kombucha in the park, picking blue flowers, and watching your friends
watch the handsome clouds pass through the sky.
It was horrible what was going on back home, wasn’t it? It was just like Andorra.
A tear ran down your cheek and into the grass.
I want you to behave like a girl with no father, said one of your lovers.
You rode the bus back to Friedrichshain at 5 a.m. with your dress torn under your coat,
a dogged joy in your heart. You were writing a novel, you said,
but you just read your horoscope and watched Schitt’s Creek on repeat most of the time.
You were nannying for a family in Mitte, and one in Prenzlauer Berg.
Two springs passed like that, not writing a thing. Then you were sitting
on your stoop, the shorts damp and sticking to your thighs. There was the scent
of garbage and apples and impending rain, voices of children rose
from the neighboring yards: soon the sparrows would start bickering again.
Any day now, the astrology app said, your new life was about to begin.