by Deborah Flanagan


  There was no shadow over my G.D.R. childhood.
Later I acted in such a way that I would not have to live in
constant conflict with the state.” –Angela Merkel



As a child she stands on the diving board for the full hour of her swimming lesson:
at the bell, she finally jumps. Her determination comes from her armpits.
She is the child who learns to walk by never letting go of anything. Warten Sie mal.

The slogan “Der Sozialismus Siegt”
was posted everywhere we looked.

Her mother asks her children if they would like to be trees.

We were always careful to appear loyal.

There are two sides to every door. Her father is a Lutheran minister.
She becomes a quantum chemistry scientist
and a beloved member of the Club of the Unkissed.
Eventually she learns to lace her fingers in a diamond shape over her stomach.

We carried the Stasi’s Handbook for a Happy Citizen
wherever we went.

The tree makes every effort to appear uninteresting, blending into the forest.

We slept and dreamt of princesses.

Sie sieht etwas weit weg. She only wears a series of blue pant suits
and never bends her knees. Nicknamed Mutti and The Decider,
she serves guests at the Chancellery potato soup and stuffed cabbage: Gutes Essen.

The hole in her sock, the only giveaway.




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