SARAJEVO: A PORTRAIT

JACOB PARSONS

 

At rest in a maw of snow and trees
the white headstones, like canines pushing up through the dirt,
climb the hills alongside the houses; the valley
folds the city and the cemeteries into one.
The convex skyline is ruled by the minarets which
have watched the reaches creep further up the slopes
and down the nadir as the years let out their sigh.
 
And still standing among the symbolic snowflakes and
the resin roses is the bridge that bore Sophie’s grief:
That wave which dumped Europe into modernity.
 
 
In the cafes and clubs the living are joined by the dead
as ghosts seep out of the tails of cigarettes
to be with the good spirits that inhabit the night.
 
In the small hours a shell-pocked lane echoes
with the dull percussion of heels effortlessly traversing
its uneven stone; a group of women look for another bar.
A young man pushes through them in a rush to catch
the last tram, and where the Ottoman remains give way
to Vienna’s shadow he continues unaffected when,
with a single step, he crests a mesa of time.

 
 

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