Old neighbour memoir from Preston, Vic. Locked in.xxx

 Bosnian boy sends postcard home

In this place I’m gagged
by the desert grit that gets
shaved off the salt lake.
I’m monster and shadow
sculpted by a mean north wind

Where is my castle?

Walking out on the flat
(what else?) I trip
over the bleached ribcage
of a dragon, it traps tumbleweed
and the skin of a brown snake.

Where is my horse?

After dark we sit in the yard,
our legs stick to the chairs.
We drink lemonade from
glass bottles and duck fruit bats
hanging from the trees like traitors.

You talk, mama,
about the last time you went to
the snow on the hills outside Sarajevo.

Six of you piled onto an old ladder,
swooshing down the icy road,
dervishes fighting the crusade.

I was sub-zero years old,
scrunched inside your belly with
my eyes shut.

If I’d known you were
there that day I’d have cut you
you open with my sword,
climbed over your parapet
and disappeared into the
mountains, at home in the cold,
with tata and the warlords.

 

First published in When I Saw Jimi, Indigo Dreams

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