Sarah Swinford

Landflucht

I have banned the talk of that 18th Century farmhouse
with its wooden beams and wisteria. There are no Auf

Wiedersehens here. Just a goodbye—some scrambled
God-be-with-ye a monk misspelled. I will forget

each morning spent in those frost-painted pastures,
digging brush strokes in dirt beneath two unsteady wheels.

I will erase each night I gazed at Orion, wandering
through forests as if I was formed to fit past stretching

pines and leaves, waving in welcome. I will curse the hail
that leveled each trail of mine with the wheatfield dirt,

the daylight that forced my shadows to run behind barren
bushes, the rain washing my paintings, stained windows

bleached by an unforgiving sun. I will remember the stories,
pages flying into brown slushes of snow, how the land’s

tongue began to rot in my mouth like mushroom-covered logs,
how I’ve learned to forget but not forgive, counting brake

lights on I-45. Today I am drenched in smog. Like yesterday’s
farmers, fleeing for factories, my old life deteriorates:

I will tell you, there are no Auf Wiedersehens here, 
just a bitter        goodbye to the home that was never mine.

Sarah Swinford was raised somewhere between a small town in Northern Germany and the suburbs of Houston, Texas. She is a recent graduate from the University of Houston, where she was on staff with Glass Mountain Magazine and majored in English — Creative Writing. Currently, she is pursuing her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Houston-Victoria. She has poems published/forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins and The Sierra Nevada Review.