by Genta Nishku
With lines adapted from Muriel Rukeyser’s
“Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars)”
and Daša Drndić’s novel Trieste
It is the beginning of the century:
my neighbors live parallel lives
in one, there are [ ], and
in the other, [ ] on credit at
the corner store. The examples
are crude because they are true.
“We need history, not memory,”
he said. It was well received,
I can report. Everything happens
at once. What will we learn about
history today? Who will teach us
to remember? Detached, not dis-
embodied from myself, I search
for truth. Or rather, the moment
when memory and history were
not separate. It is the beginning
of the century. Another century
of world wars. I find language
asleep. Inadequate, as they say.
But I am here in my body, as
you are in yours. We listen.
We record the story. It is quiet.
“We live in history,” another
said. It was the aftermath, and
I looked for you: your silent face,
wished, again, for the beginning.
Genta Nishku is a writer, translator and literary scholar. Her writing can be found in publications such as the Kenyon Review, new_sinews, Bennington Review and Washington Square Review, among others. Find her at www.gentanishku.com.