She was in her eighties when I met her,
long grey hair in a bun,
sprigs of lavender tucked behind each ear.
She said it was good for her memory,
made her remember
the sweet moments.
She made pots of tea for us children
in chipped little cups of boiled mint and honey,
read the leaves at the bottom of each one
with great seriousness,
divining the adventures we would go on,
love stories and elephant rides.
She never worked,
waited for her husband every evening.
He was the night-shift bookkeeper,
rode his bicycle home
in a suit and tie,
the children long since fed and tucked in bed,
she fed him dinner
and sat across from him
with her knitting
while he ate
and asked about his day
the same way every time.
Tell me the wonderful things.
Many years later,
after they had both died
I learned they were hidden,
two young Jews,
the delicacy of new love
grew in the cracks of the savagery.
She made him promise her
if the world was returned to kindness,
that he would save every tendril
of joy from every stolen day
and bring it home for her.
She seemed so magical to me,
I never knew
how close the darkness
danced and how fervently
to be reminded