Nikola Petkovic


(bagels) - Poem by Nikola Petkovic

Bagels make me happy.

In the mornings I listen hard with my ears
wired.
My arms wander.
I listen hard.

My neighbors’ window is closed.

They are awake all night, talking loud: you pig, says she every
Weeknight.
Their futon, queen size I was told,
takes two of them,
a cat,
and my ears still hard: you pig, you eat me like a peasant.

(her man is baking her morning bread, uptown)

you pig, you like to listen.

No!

Bagels make me happy.
They are the science of a silent remedy.

Normally one is enough. One should be enough, I hear my grandmother
saying one is always enough.

Bagels mean nothing to her. In W.W. II she ate potato pills, some wet flour and
a young colonel but she would never discuss the circumstances of that meal. She
doesn’t remember, her head wired, her world inside a box guarded by the many, her limbs shy covered with sleeves in summers, and now, she sits at home, on an inner tube of our
dismantled white car, because her bones are burning.

Finally, I am dying, she smiles in her safe corner, next to my
grandfather
whose stories contain her world. She looks at him, thinking of the unthinkable,
waiting for my mother to air up her hollow cushion.

Like a bagel she thinks, in another life she never lived.

I know she wants to burn like paper.
She hates soil.
She hates worms.

My mother’s husband’s nickname is Worm.
He has no life nor decent diet,
he has no ink to curse in letters,
he has no ulcer to burst inside of him.
He is out there, waiting for my grandmother to die, so he can have
her tube.
He used to sail for ten years before they sent him home to meet my mother. He
hopes he would take the tube back to the ocean.
His new ship he would never have to share.

I am here, twenty two thousand miles away from dreams thought out in Latin tongue, eating
a bagel,
slowly and detached.
It makes me happy. My bagel is heavy and its bread is humid white and plain like plants or frozen air.
Today I will mail her a bagel in a yellow manila envelope.
Let her see my life.
Let her share my chair.
Let her die with us away, without fear of vertigo,
alone.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Poem Edited: Tuesday, November 25, 2008


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