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Sample Poems by Biljana D. Obradovi?


A Letter to the Cornhusker Hotel

Dear Manager:

I don’t think you remember me, but still I want to thank you for taking the time to find and mail my inflatable green pillow which I had forgotten in my room. You could have kept it, or simply tossed it in the garbage. It was given to me by my boyfriend’s mother a few years ago. That small green neck pillow has helped me travel to China, US, and Yugoslavia.

This summer I made great use of it, putting it under my broken left foot in Belgrade. Friends took me out to cafes or restaurants, or to their homes, so I wouldn’t sit in the apartment all alone, feeling imprisoned. As you can see, it has helped me many times, so that I feel that I can’t live without it. You have really proven to me

that the Midwest has the kindest people, not like the New Yorker

who kept my fake Calvin Klein black and white scarf. I bought it from African street sellers in Florence, where I went with my boyfriend on our first Italian trip together. He married me, and ever since then it has brought me luck.

Whenever I am in Lincoln I will stay with you again.

This is why I thank you again for returning it to me.

I hope to be your guest again soon.

Sincerely yours…



The Order of Spring Flowers in New Orleans

First at the beginning of the new year
my camellia blooms in front of the house
watching the front door, so I take a photo
of Petar as if measuring his growth with the bloom.

Next, on the side of the house, beside the driveway
the white blossoms of the lemon tree appear.
I can see them from the kitchen window, popping
one by one as if popcorn, smelling like a lemon meringue pie.

Then in front of the house, my little bed
bursts with bulbs of hyacinth rising up
from their sleep in the ground in the middle
of long green leaves: white, pink, even purple blooms.

After them finally the neighbor’s Japanese magnolia
bush begins blooming with large pink flowers.
I want them to last a long time, but they become leaves
too soon, so that later on I forget how beautiful the bush was.

It’s still not spring until the front yard’s
daffodils yellow the ground and sway in the wind
like little bells with white centers
outlined by bright purple, saying, “Voila!”

I’ve tried planting lily-of-the-valleys and snow drops here,
but perhaps we’re too far south for them to thrive.
But, I think of them every year, remember how Mom
sent them to me every spring in her letters,

pressed in some novel she was reading at the time.
How she knew that I loved picking
the sprigs, then putting them in front of my nose,
closing my eyes from the strong aroma.

I also miss the purple lilac bushes back home
which I’ve never seen here. They can
smell up the whole neighborhood with their
pungent perfume, like linden trees in spring.

Here we can compare these to magnolia blossoms
which come a little later, but once the big white blossoms
appear they don’t smell up the whole street like jasmine or
sweet olives whose sweet scent I love, but didn’t know before.



The Lido

As we walk to the beach we spot a planted basil
in an empty coconut shell; it grows on a windowsill.
Grey haired men in Speedos walk up and down
the beach, displaying their manhood, while
their gold chains sway to and fro from their necks.
Occasional topless women sunbathe.

Huge ships pass in the distance while the overcast sky
passes above us as huge clouds. Sun umbrellas,
sand, occasional shells, flip flops…a baby feeling
the sand and the waves for the first time
is a bit scared. Her daddy takes her picture
with his smart phone. Sunrays play with my eyes,
while my son creates his own sandcastle with towers.

The baby comes and messes up my son’s castle;
at first we protest, then let it go. New shovel
and rake for a Euro is worth “the fun in the sun,”
even for an hour, or two before we can go
back on the vaporetto to visit Academia.



Attending to the Dead in New Orleans

Attending to the Dead in New Orleans
removing the moss which has enveloped the stones.
They retouch the names with black paint,
think the fading away will be discontinued,
the inevitable falling into oblivion—stopped.
They themselves don’t want the same treatment.
All Saint’s Day, or when the tomb is reopened.
It has to be at least a year and a day later,
for one of their own remains to be buried.

The day after All Saint’s Day the cemetery
by the Magnolia Project awakens with
brightly colored flowers, contrasting the dull graveside vases,
although not all the relatives were revisited the day before.
Perhaps their loved ones have moved some place far away,
Like me, they, too, pass some foreign graveyard over there,
wish the weeds would stop growing,
and cover their lives, their memories.