by | April 1, 2023

Berlin, November


Today the U-Bahn wasn’t running so I took

the Ersatzverkehr, and it made me think of you

back home, two summers ago,

when we were friends again, and sitting

in a square of June sunlight

on the floor of David’s room.


What I can’t say with words I try to say with

my hands, reaching for the fruit bowl:

“You don’t eat enough fruit – here,

have a clementine, take half,

or the whole thing.” In another time,

I would feed you the segments myself,

and feel your lips, sticky with juice,

brush against my fingers.


Instead, hopeless mute that I am,

I get to sit and watch as you peel it apart,

the orange so lovely against your blue jumper.

It is almost as good, I think,

it is almost as good.



der Ersatz- [ɛɐˈzats]: replacement, substitute

die Wörter (pl.) [ˈv‖rtɐ]: words

der Ersatzverkehr [ɛɐˈzatsfɛɐˈkeːɐ]: replacement transport


Words by Anna Cooper.

Art by Faye Song.