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In winter, my mother would take me sledding. She would be my horse.
In winter, everything was white and calm, until it wasn’t.
In winter, my grandmother would cook and roast
And prepare a separate meal for each of us: my aunt, my cousin, my uncle, and me.
In winter, my grandmother would die.
In winter, my mother would turn her back to us and sleep, sleep, sleep.
In winter, I would celebrate Christmas alone with my father.
My mother though, she was supposedly still alive.
We would sometimes still gather around the kitchen table—my father, my mother, and I.
In winter, I would be alone sometimes.
In winter, I would forget what home tastes like.
In winter, the German cabbage leaves would not bend like the Romanian ones.
In Germany, we would complain and long for the sarmale of our childhood.
In winter, I would forget my name.
I would reinvent myself.
I would get abandoned by the man I once followed.
I would move, again and again.
I would find silence, and peace, in the village that was never really mine.
In the surrounding hills that echoed my name,
Day after day, voice after voice, one tree after another.
In winter, I would sometimes turn and unturn into my mother.
Diana Radovan, the author of the hybrid memoir Our Voices (2022), is a Romanian-born author and Best of the Net nominee currently living in Germany. Her poems have appeared in Wild Roof Journal, Poetry Breakfast, Dog-Ear, Arc Journal, Feed, Wax Poetry and Art, World’s Best Poems Vol.1, Headline Poetry and Press, O Mie de Semne, and elsewhere.