A Conversation with one of the Elderly People in my Care on V-Day who is now battling Covid-19

how old were you
when the war ended

she looks at the ceiling
trying to come up
with an answer

it’s been seventy five years
she says
and i am ninety one

i never expected to still be alive
at this age
none of my siblings were

so you remember it quite well

yes, she nods

our house burned down
and my father tried to save
our horse
but the germans shot her anyway
just for fun

young men do horrible things
when you give them guns

she doesn’t look ninety one
her eyes are still working
and her skin is bright

life moves so fast girl
she says
but you are still young

i don’t feel young
but that’s the great bit
about caring for the elderly
you are always young
in their eyes
maybe it’s the cataract

she goes back to the shelter
and the bombs

our entire family
was sitting underground
and my brother was nagging
because he needed
more space
until these two german
soldiers walked in
and everyone was silent

one of them
showed me a photograph
of his children
and said ‘mussen’
‘have to’
they were forced to fight too

yes i say
the mad men never fight their own wars
they sent the sons of the poor

they were the decent ones
she said
if they weren’t
i would not have been here today

talking to me
i said

and maybe
if my grandfather had not been
sixteen at the time
i wouldn’t have
been here either

but we are
and they lost
and today
we are both free