My poetry is rusty, but the past several weeks I just keep thinking about Sarajevo. Comments and critiques appreciated.
Her body is imprinted in my skin. When I close my eyes, she's there,
her deep voice singing sevdalinka. Her notes are flat, though
flat as though she is not listening, as though she is the vessel through which the song
I first fell in love with her in books,
in words that painted that sevdalinka in my mind, painted her singing it
wading aimless through the blood in the marketplace after the massacre.
I reached for her to stop her, but she slips, and
the fall bruises her bones, shakes her teeth out of her skull, but the hole in her smile,
a smile of which I have heard only rumors, the hole there
I tell her that
I tell her how beautiful she is but there is no response
the light in her eyes is a stagnant reflection burned there
that time she watched the library burning,
impervious to the heat of the bombs as they shell the city from above us,
fire falling onto the books in the valley below. I watch her face to see if she reacts but there's
nothing. She has blocked it out like she did the sounds of the screaming animals in the zoo
as they starved alone in their cages.
And even with that blankness behind her eyes I love her.
I touch her hair and tell her I will hold her until the nightmares end
even though we both know they never will.