Gail Peck writes, All of these six poems will be included in the new
manuscript I am currently working on. It is tentatively titled “Counting
the Lost Children.” After my last book of poetry, I challenged myself to
write poems based on works of art, and not be solely dependent upon
autobiography. However, since I know the power of memory and
personal experience, I wanted to include poems that are
autobiographical, in part or in whole. My stepfather was in the Army,
and stationed in Berlin during 1957-1960. While I was too young to
absorb all the history of Berlin at that time, it later became an abiding
interest for me, and seems now to have found its natural place in my
Rubble from bombs still in the city
as we rode to Brandenburg Gate
where my parents, my sister and I
stood looking up at those majestic horses,
peering into the East Sector where the maid
bought the goblets with money
my mother saved, brought them
one by one—deep burgundy
and cobalt blue—to our side of Berlin.
In those army quarters there was now
something of beauty on the shelf
of our china cabinet. We never used them.
No one drank wine, so their heft was
never felt, tall, etched stems.
They came back with us to the states,
and we packed them for every move.
Six of them given to me as a gift when I married.
I never drink from them as I prefer
to see the clarity of wine, and worry
about the lead. But, I’ll keep them.
I should tell my children about these goblets,
palm design, that sat in the room
where my mother played cards, laughing
and smoking with her friends, Kitty and Helga.