Der Struwwelpeter stalks the streets of Freiburg
counting 35 brands of beer and 50 types of cheese,
then stops at Gunther Roth’s Antiquitaten
on Schusterstrasse 13 to buy his own yellow book.
Sehen Sie Struwwelpeter’s bright red smock, cinched
tight, black belt on a yellow lollipop cover. Ten talon
nails, green tights, scarecrow hair uncut, his bee-hive
teary eyes heed mother’s warning.
If your soup is cold, eat it anyway. You don’t want
to be like Kasper buried between nicked pages.
A wooden cross and bowl of hot soup marks his grave.
I always eat my soup flaming hot.
Remember the pig-tailed girl who loved matches?
Her flaming dress, scorched skin, buried
on the page after Kasper.
My matches are cupboard cupped
a chair above the refrigerator, kid proof.
But, please watch your cat.
Konrad does not listen, sucked his thumb against
mother’s wishes until the tailor, Klip Klapp, leaped grand
jeté with pruning shears wide enough to clip Konrad’s head,
but snips two-thumbs instead. The poor lad never saw it coming.
I confess I sucked calloused thumbs behind doors,
under tables, and beds on guard for the thin-as-a crepe
man with pointed shoes and shears. Children, be careful!
And so loved ones, Der Struwwelpeter has saved many
a child from a death of nails and matches. Eat your soup,
cut that hair, and don’t let me see one-calloused thumb.
For all good children enter heaven.
We know where the others go.
Clarissa Jakobsons instructs at Cuyahoga Community College and was twice featured poet at The Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore, in Paris. She won first place at the Akron Art Museum New Words Competition. Sample publications include: Glint Literary Journal, Hawaii Pacific Review, Lake, Ruminate, Tower Magazine, Qarrtsiluni. Sometimes she combines artist books with her poems or art. Recently she enjoyed a Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center residency. She writes, “Don’t be surprised to see my inner artist kicking sandcastles, climbing Mount Diablo, painting Provincetown dunes, or walking under an Ohio crescent moon."