Peace on Earth
The first glimmer of it had been the sign
on the gatepost, Maes-y-Pant, past
the unnumbered mailbox. The car door
slammed shut behind me. Andrzej turned
off the engine, got out on the other side.
"Welsh," he said, as if he'd been taught it
by the priests in Krakow. "The last owners
named it. The realtor told us it means
something like Meadow-on-the-Hill.
We liked it, so we just kept it that way."
Inside, we settled into sofas around
the hardwood table, listened to Piaf, Bocelli,
and Newton John. Sheba came around
to sniff at the coffee, test our laps
and faces. Andrzej pulled her to the armchair.
"Sheba speaks three languages," he was
saying, stroking her collar. "She sits
in Polish, fetches in English, and now
that Joanna's in that class three weeks
she's learning German as well!"
A glimmer in the doorway. And an aroma
of raisined life that set Sheba to barking.
Joanna came in, balancing a tray
piled precariously high, a ziggurat
of pastry, flecked with flour and cream.
The coffee went around, as we demolished
that sumptuous tower, talking all at once,
a babble of voices, teaching each other
the words - Guten Morgen, dzień dobry,
maidin mhaith, magandang umaga -
The words to meet each other with, come day.
Inside, that winter night, we opened up
that vast thesaurus of one human tongue -
Outside, there was, through mist,
the glimmer of stars.