Feldwebel Zorn's

Senaden Musabegovic (b. 1970)
Translated from the Bosnian by
Ulvija Tanovic
Feldwebel Zorn told me in the winter of forty-four that this mess
Was coming to an end, the whole World knew it but the Germans, he was leaving and was not coming back
With any luck, next month he would board the ship freighting glass
And if he survived in the hold without water, food, and light, he'd drink rum with fishermen in Havana
And he would be called Francisco Garcia Goethe, fine, I said, you know that your words
Are going in the grave with me, I know you don't need my advice, so farewell
You misunderstand me, Sulc, I'm not a boy who needs to confide, nor am I a fool to brag
I need someone to leave my Zündapp with, and you know your way around machines and you understand this little male
Weakness, this that I'm leaving the world behind, but I can't leave my motorcycle, so if there's any luck
And we all save our skins, I'll be glad to come back to Sarajevo and get it, with a bottle of rum for you
And a straw hat for your Missus, fine, I told Feldenwebel Zurn, I'll wait for you --- Francisco
Forty years have passed, I've never heard of him, he's not among the criminals of war
He's not among Castro's compañeros with beards, he's not in letters or postcards
Just the Zümdapp, in the corner of my shed, among the wardrobes, bicycles, and automobile tires
Grease keeps it from rust, moths, flies, and ants have died in it, this sticky trap
In which there's no salvation, either for them, or for me

--- From New European Poets
Wayne Miller
Kevin Prufer, Editors
©2008, Graywolf Press
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