SARAJEVO STANDS TRIAL FOR THE CHARGES AGAINST IT
They say I started world war one.
On my knuckle is the bridge where it happened, broken bricked. Across, the museum
brags its dates on the outside: a plaque for a fallen Ferdinand peeking between Ottoman
cobblestone & Austro- creamsicle buildings.
They say this bridge is where bullets shot through the skull of a royal man whose tire
tracks squealed conversation into my skin. That his assassinated blood dripped through
the gums of car doors, streaming into my rivers while I lay sweltering under your confused
heat: mounds of rubber-soled feet silencing my wrists in shackles.
They say I fed your farms the blood of genocide, that I make an excellent case study for
which decomposing bodies grow the best crops.
(four-year-olds. orthodox. the wrinkled. muslims. pregnant women. catholics.)
Now, they point to maps of my brown skin as proof that men are dogs best left with their
own breed, ignoring the families of green and yellow grass growing side by side against the
skin of my calves.
I have watched people flock in and out of my arteried streets like confused birds following
each other before crashing, not knowing how to properly use the air. I have watched
you accidentally fall into flight over and over, confusing yourselves into movement. A
disoriented wingspan: fall. fly. fall. crash. fall. fly. fall. fall.
I am a house of glass but no one treats me as fragile. You littered the sides of my lungs with
mines and now I fear the consequence of breathing in too deeply. In some corners I’ve been
left too gutted. Robbed. Dangling insides. You’ve erected fences to catch my crumbling.
I have watched people come and go. Fly. Fall. Crash. My thighs are marked with the sting
of a mortar missed, the persistent yell of a shovel’s lips. I have felt you layer my insides
with bodies; digging new rooms in the depths of my kidneys. Press my soil into your blood
before hastily turning, doubting we are the same family.
I have made a sunset for you like no other. Painted my purple bruises against a sleepy orange
sun for you to marvel at; jutted out my kneecaps and elbows to make a mountain-littered sky. I’ve
wrapped my arms around your glowing minarets, cradled you through snowglobe nights and
raids of bullets praying for your skin.
How easily you fly(fall)fly.crash.fall.fly away.
Fatimah Asghar is a poet, performer, photographer, writer and thinker who is almost always in-between two places. Currently, her heart is in Cambridge with her sisters while her body is in Sarajevo, where she is on a Fulbright grant, writing, researching, exploring and constantly tripping over herself. Her work can be found at www.fatimahasghar.com.