Poem of the week: Kalinovik

A new work by Shannon Kuta Kelly

Shannon Kuta Kelly

Shannon Kuta Kelly

 

More like the wind and less like the fire-
more like stray dogs’ ribs and less like
the butt of a rifle. An empty school
whose windows were darkened. We learned
how to string laundry above conspicuous
red puddles. More like men with matted
beards and hand-rolled cigarettes and less
like a bomb. From behind locked doors in the only
hotel in Kalinovik, the gruff voices of chetniks.
We saw far away photographs of Pepsi ads
and Welcome to Sarajevo! painted on a peeling wall.
Pregnant bellies were living bellies. Somebody
wrote this down. There were men in space
and men shaking hands, somewhere.
Somewhere, a man with your throat in his hands
called you by a name that is not yours,
while down your old street, the children
covered their heads with the sheets while they slept.

Shannon Kuta Kelly’s work has appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Tangerine and Crannog. She lives in Galway.