A yard in Bosnia

by | Mar 5, 2009 | Poetry | 0 comments

The yard below is at its best in Spring.
Then, the barbwired walls
glint and reflect albino rays
of tepid April suns
that lightly warm the struggling shoot.
In summer the heat is stifling.
Enclosed and trapped, it swells
within the dusty peeling bricks.
Untended terra-cotta splinters,
ornamental urns dry out
and cracks snake through the paving
where only fangs of weeds begin to sprout.

But in one corner nothing ever grows.
There, heaped quick lime
obliterates and burns out memory
except for that brief time in Spring
when periscopic shoots break surface.
A solitary memorial beneath the pitted wall.

I return each Easter
and taste the bitter peace.
Now the yard is silent but I hear
the cries of pinioned men and boys
piercing the wails of women at the gate.
They still haunt my mind
maggot coiling in remembrance.

I look down through the bars
and see a single aconite,
a slash of ochre draining,
bleeding in the soil.
Symbol of renewal.

But there is no resurrection
for those nameless ones,
who lie in leprous lime
beneath the bullet spattered wall.


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