Her maiden surname was Eisenberg, ‘iron
mountain’, one that had been chosen for them
from the Imperial list. I was often
uneasy, unsure in her presence.
She hardly ever smiled. I realise now
because I looked so like her son, my father.
She died, from kidney failure, when I was nine.
On the mantelpiece in our dining room
is a pair of figurines – faux Meissen –
brought in her parents’ wooden suitcase, wrapped
in linen, journeying from Leopoldstat,