Bavaria wears the sky as a flag,
White flecks woven with pale blue.
My daughter holds my hand
As we pass through the crowds,
Sometimes playfully slipping
My grasp, rehearsing.
In the tent a hairy leg
Stamps from bench to table
And through the fleshy frame
A woman gives me
A dark-eyed smile
Above her full bodice.
The waitress lends me a pen,
But I have to stand next to her,
Tethered by the attaching string.
She shows me her name,
Bettina etched on a brass broach
Pinned beside her breast.
Outside again the rain starts
With slow fat drops that coagulate
Into a hosing soaking deluge.
I hold the little girl in a tight embrace,
Pressed against the window
Of a ticket booth, protected
By a foot of overhang that keeps
The worst from her, but not
From the back of my cotton shirt.
Thunder cracks as lightning
Whips the Wies’n, and we cower,
Waiting for it to stop; waiting.
Later the long arms of fairground rides
Slip again into the evening; one way
The sky shades to white,
The other to an angry bar
Of Prussian blue. Flags hang
Limp in the dithering breeze.
I find my throat is sore:
I had tried to make myself heard
In a tent of raucous singing;
But now my croaking voice
Is too hoarse even
For bedtime stories.