Today's poem is by Susan Rich

Everyone in Bosnia Loves Begonias

On balconies safer than passport pages

bright, hard blossoms light up
bullet worn apartments. Amidst the cracks

from mortar shells—begonias—

Rex Begonias: the commonly
grown, taken for granted,

impossible to kill—
flowers are flourishing.

They work in the dirt.

While no one else in Europe
or America interferes,

like a strong neighbor,
the Rex Begonia is there—

in packs and tribes in Travnic,
Banja Luca, Prijedor,

guarding porch doors with serrated leaves—
preserving each family's story.

The Serbian soldier never imagined

the carbon dioxide source
that ricocheted his hand grenade

off the garden window. Across intermediary
boundary lines, strong-stemmed survivors

testify. The begonia has come a long way.
These partisans deflect all praise

for horticultural acts they've staged
and as it is with taxi drivers,

and cigarette vendors,
everyone in Bosnia adores begonias.

Bright light, no light—it's all the same to them:
budding begonias bursting

through the night.

Copyright © 2006 Susan Rich All rights reserved
from Cures Include Travel
White Pine Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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