After Natasha Trethewey
I am nine in the picture, standing
in front of the Berlin Wall as though
it’s just another tourist trap
and not an actual trap
holding back actual people
at that actual moment.
Someone said say cheese, and I did as I was told
though I did not feel like smiling
because I had just peered over the Wall
for the first time and understood what it meant
be to on one side or the other,
on teams no one chose.
It was gray over there, on the other side.
It was gray on our side, too.
That part’s easy to forget.
A gray city split by a long gray wall,
at least for one more year.
Then they pulled it out, slice by slice,
and everyone who never saw it forgot it ever stood
and embraced the warm lie
that freedom is inevitable.