Reading Signs

the life I went to take
with me I returned without:

my children in a snapshot, their hand
perhaps still in mine, their faces
gazing up at me, as though trying
to read a future in my flash lit eyes

that strained to spot, behind the camera,
fire-eating acrobats advancing on uni-
cycles, masked marksmen following, a sub-
machine gun slung over their shoulder,

              to have the mind flip
the reflex mirror out of the way
and let the memory retain I managed,
at that very moment, to push my children
out of the picture,
                     before the shutter
discharged the flash, before the rest
of the performers and their ringmaster
riding a dun horse at the rear, his hand
making abstruse signs in the air, went
through the lens and us:

                                        I could not
have known that as I stood alone,
at the same spot, in what was once
my garden, a figure coming toward me,
yelling: Hey you, Are you blind or what,
Read the fucking sign: No Trespassing.

Mario Susko

About the poet: Mario Susko, a witness and survivor of the war in Bosnia, came, in a sense, back to the US at the end of 1993. He has taught at the University of Sarajevo and Nassau Com. College, where his is currently an Associate Professor in the English Department. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 1997 and 2006 Nassau Review Poetry Award, the 1998 Premio Internazionale di Poesia e Letteratura "Nuove Lettere" ( Naples, Italy ), and the 2000 Tin Ujevic Award for "Versus Exsul" for the best book of poems published in Croatia in 1999. His works have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and short-listed for the Forward Poetry Prize. He has authored 25 books of poems, his fourth book in English, Eternity on Hold, having been released by Turtle Point Press, NY, in 2005. The Croatian version was released last November by Meandarmedia, Zagreb.