Michael Cooney: “What You Said in German Was Not about Kissing”

What You Said in German Was Not about Kissing

Sharing a ham & cheese hero with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise and a bag of those cheese doodle things you liked on a hillside at the Bronx Botanical Garden was more fun than meeting you in that trattoria on the Piazza Navona with the waiter who spoke such good English because you were wearing the blue dress that buttoned down the front and we were caught in the rain but when we got back to the apartment on 189th street it was hotter than ever and we dragged the mattress up onto the roof and ate pepperoni pizza from downstairs where everybody spoke Italian to you but you didn’t know a word except maybe prego and scusi and although you took German at Hunter it wasn’t much help when we rode the D train to Central Park where the Met was performing something from Wagner, maybe Tannhauser which goes on forever but I loved you because you had read all of The Magic Mountain and called it Der Zauberberg and sometimes I look at you and want to tell you that Dominic’s has been closed for years and there’s probably no one else except maybe Barbara Kaufman who remembers the night when you said something in German and I thought you said “Kiss me.”


Michael Cooney has taught English and writing on the high school and community college level in New York City. His novella “The Witch Girl and The Wobbly” will be published January 1 by Running Wild Press. His poetry has appeared in Bitter Oleander, Badlands, and other journals.

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