But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how soon
Would highth recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feigned submission swore? Ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
For never can true reconcilement grow,
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep
I watched my grandfather
slide a cigarette out of his silver cigarette case.
He bought his cigarettes in ones. My father had his sons
in the same way. We were all at the table:
my father and me, my grandfather and his loosie.
Our loosies clung to our backs like demons, dripping saliva
over my family name, hungry.
We sat in silence watching each other avert our eyes;
Admiring what he’d done with the place:
A table to sit, a bed to lie, an apartment to wait.
Here I learned that my grandfather could time travel.
He had doom fixed upon his face in the form of a closing trachea and
The Bajraktarevic Man
can time travel.
He sees what is to come every time he looks into my eyes:
There’s a tired wooden table on the fourth floor of a sinking brick building.
I’m stuck there, chain-smoking loose cigarettes, until they are gone.
They sell them outside my door.
But, here we are, noticing
He hasn’t vacuumed in some time and paints figurines of women
My father, googling the numbers of landlords in the area, with
strands of my mother’s hair
stuck underneath his fingernails
He is red in the face and coughing, sweating, trying to
breathe heavy but wheezing and coughing and sweating
I were to try and save myself
I would write poetry and always be in love
I would spill myself sloppily in front of faceless folk. Standing where
I could be seen with my hand out, waiting to be held. But even here,
I would be alone, because,
I am a Bajraktarevic man, and
I have doom fixed upon my face