She Came Back That Night - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
The sign said COLD ROOM in bold letters.
The hometown cemetery needed
a storage place for the departed
to rest their worn out bones three days.
Stone walls so thick they would not hear,
if hear they could after they'd passed
and not one window, just a door
and space for four, both sexes welcome.
Frau Mengert had been taken there,
she'd struggled bravely with her illness.
The doctor said her heart had failed,
she was just sixty, although huge.
When midnight tolled from nearby bells,
the towers of two local churches,
the sound was said to wake the dead.
That night they did, she rolled and landed
on cold stone floor and banged her head
which further wakened her life forces.
A hefty rapping on his door, it woke him quickly.
In moonlight at the threshold stood his wife
the one who had just died, a snow white gown
a knitted cap, two fancy flowers in her hand,
her skin was purple and she shivered but wait-
her man had fallen hard, it was the shock for sure.
Doc came at once, pyjama legs were peeking
from housecoat and his bag was open.
A stethoscope was then applied to hairy chest.
Doc was about to give his verdict, 'he's..'
when she did stop him, 'oh no he ain't
what kind of doctor are you to tell us we are dead?
I could have died in that Cold Room, you know?
I'd be ashamed to be so wrong, and well you ought to
perhaps you need to hang your shingle in the barn,
or hide it altogether, this town is sick of you, you quack! '
At this, the doc, quite agitated, and red of face,
had placed the stethoscope upon his own
but then it fell and he did follow, right to the ground
and on cold stones, breathed his last breath
and there he died. They took him there, onto the slab
she had escaped from on that night. And it is true.
And no one checked and no one asked or wondered
and he remained there, cold, and dead forever
the bells however tolled as if the world was still the same.
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