Sarajevo, Chicago

At the restaurant, the ceiling tiles were white
and sagging, weak-in-the-knees, Casablanca lilies.

This was a place that should have taken him back
to his childhood. A place for burial,

a cremation. They arrived with a variety of meats,
d’oeuvres, all the way from Bosnia.

I only knew a matter of words: please, thank you,
excuse me. Molim hvala molim.

And on a good day: Dobar dan, hello.
Laku noć, good night.

I could not describe the flowers or the condition
of the waiters, but I could sense

a divide: a religion. The others of this place believed
in the same God in different clothes.

A short list of words separated
the two languages.

They looked no different to me.

I had no doubts that when the children
went home, they would sleep. And at some point,

they would play in a backyard. They would pick
flowers, and their hands would grow

into larger hands.

It was only a matter of time.


About mckenzielynntozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives and writes in Indiana, where she works as a virtual assistant, editor, and freelance writer via her self-started business, MLT Creative. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, where she worked as the Layout and Design Editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose and as an Assistant Poetry Editor for Third Coast. She previously completed her B.S. in Secondary English Education and B.A. in English, with a Concentration in Writing, at Indiana University South Bend, where she worked as the Managing Editor for 42 Miles Press. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Encore Magazine, Thank You for Swallowing, The Spooklet, Sleet Magazine, and Analecta, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared on The Rumpus and Motherly. When not writing, she enjoys art and music, and the simple mathematics of being a wife of one, a mama of two, and a cat-mom of three. For more, visit View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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