From Stu McPherson’s prompt to write a “Missing You” poem:
I walked those cobbled streets, seemingly another era.
Jewelry stores with shingles hung out front,
men wearing eyepieces, bent over in concentration.
Windows of bäckerei crammed with braided bread,
danishes, pastries, cookies caught my attention.
I took a small table for pungent coffee, a roll and the bonus
of fresh bread baking in back.
The little bed and breakfast made us tumble
over each other.
Our hosts provided every need.
Breakfasts of hard-boiled eggs, fruit, cheese, and bread,
always bread, fortified us for our day’s adventure.
This day in Salzburg we walked in the rain,
that drizzly, shiny sort that doesn’t require umbrellas.
Behind our lodging an ancient church and graveyard.
Our eyes popped at a grave marked MOZART.
History reigned in front of us.
Then, walking back, two girls wearing Michigan State sweatshirts
walked toward us. We had to chat. So far from home, yet home
in this fine far-off place.
It was the little things:
Girls in aprons, pinafores, hair in tight braids, nodding, demure,
pleased because they could make our day pleasant with their serving.
The bookstore where I tried to purchase a children’s book
whose proprietor wouldn’t speak to me until I tried German.
When I did he burst into a fountain of English.
The trains that left exactly on time. Not one was late.
Conductors shooing us onboard, we, struggling with much luggage.
“Mein Got, mein Got,” in frustration. We tried our best, bumbling tourists.
And then the young guide, as we headed out on the “Sound of Music” tour,
“That,” he said, pointing, “is my second favorite mountain.”
We turned to see.
“I love my homeland.”
Homeland. I thought of home. Too many signs, pollution everywhere,
disrespect like fog covering a city.
But here everything gleamed, and people were proud.
We saw the sights and felt the depths.
I miss you, Austria.
I still have that little wooden carved box
where I keep the schillings to remind me.