Photo: Siege, Sarajevo
The old woman bends
to gather firewood, head scarved, her face
obscured. I am old now and she is dead.
Still she bends, collecting splintered sticks
soft from rain and old snow and stinking
with animal waste. Rusted nails and hinges
tear hands’ thin skin, bits of tool-handles
whose metal bodies have been carried off,
parts of locks, their keys gone. She lives
as long as I remember her. I wonder
who will keep me—doing what?—when I
am gone to that place which is no place,
where we will not gather at the river
together at last with our beloved dead.