Sarajevo, Chicago

 

At the restaurant, the ceiling tiles were white
and sagging, weak-in-the-knees, Casablanca lilies.

This was a place that should have taken him back
to his childhood. A place for burial,

a cremation. They arrived with a variety of meats,
d’oeuvres, all the way from Bosnia.

I only knew a matter of words: please, thank you,
excuse me. Molim hvala molim.

And on a good day: Dobar dan, hello.
Laku noć, good night.

I could not describe the flowers or the condition
of the waiters, but I could sense

a divide: a religion. The others of this place believed
in the same God in different clothes.

A short list of words separated
the two languages.

They looked no different to me.

I had no doubts that when the children
went home, they would sleep. And at some point,

they would play in a backyard. They would pick
flowers, and their hands would grow

into larger hands.

It was only a matter of time.

 

 

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