Territories of memory,
those walks in
the old war zones where
snipers hid in trees
above Sarajevo and fired
on wives and children
who ran if they could
or died in the panicked street
on their way
to the errands of the innocent.
All they had wanted was to buy
supplies, to borrow a book,
to wait for the tram to take them to work,
or a hot meal with some wine.
I saw scars on the shelled buildings,
and roofs broken open with fire,
and scars in the eyes of survivors.
All the abandoned farms
lethal with unmapped mines.
Somewhere in the north
I tried to see the Drina
from the high mountain pass
at Ljubovija. But the milky fog hid the river in its deep purse,
made the green foamy ribbon a thin wish, below this house
with no water at all, and no hope of water.
The Drina’s eternal flow is there somewhere,
under this place of glacial scrubbing—restless
waters, soundlessly passing, below
someone’s grandmother’s homestead,
an old uncle’s orchard, the coin of scant plums,
or a hundred year old apricot tree that pushes out fruit,
year after year, war or no war.