It is post World War II.
The year is 1956.
The place is a United States Army military base somewhere in Germany.
She’s just come from playing with her
dearest friend in the entire world at the base housing playground.
She is screaming because of her friend’s tears and words.
She throws open the door to home and flings her
little five-year old body toward Papa’s lap
It is a safe and well-known sanctuary.
Her friend’s eyes had held angry flashing lights
along with a spoken longing
for her own long-deceased grandmother,
who had been a slave.
Papa! her scream begs
What is a slave?
She sobs into his neck and shoulder.
After Papa explains she becomes hysterical
and is put to bed,
missing the family’s evening meal.
In the morning she appears at the family breakfast table.
Arms and face are black with Papa’s paint markers.
No one speaks.