amanda in the mirror

Pink cheeked, dark browed, scowling 
at herself the way people look 
at themselves in the mirror, as if we were 
our own worst enemies, rehearsing 
a German phrase, ein bisschen Hoffnung, a 
little bit of hope, this is Amanda, the night before 
she sits the German exam that results in the letter 
she holds in her hand, weeks later, the letter, 
weeks later, everyone is asking about 
and no one knows has arrived. 
She has won a scholarship. 
She had described ein rosa-beige Haus, 
a pink-beige house, knowing beige 
was the word for beige and risking her use of it 
looking like a guess, intent on capturing 
a dream, the black tree trunks, a whole landscape 
in shadow, the sense of sunlight falling 
elsewhere, a dank feeling 
which she used the word feuchtes – humid – 
for, anxiously, the taste of pencil 
in her mouth. She sees herself now 
looking anxious in the glass, the feeling nowhere 
apparent of sunlight in her heart – das Gefühl 
des Sonnenlichts, she thinks to herself 
with a smile that doesn’t appear on her face.