Two Serbias

by Shaun Terry

Serbian Cornfield

Just beyond Belgrade,
a cornfield sprawls
from one edge of the horizon to the other.
Highways pass over it,
like anachronistic eggshell ribbons, hanging in the sky.

From the field,
farmers mostly ignore
the strips of serial art passing by,
as rancorous old trains transport Slavs back-and-forth
between the city and the North.

A few kilometers past the cornfield,
between other cornfields and uniform red brick apartments,
with their red clay roofs,
a bronzed, slightly greasy man,
wearing three-day old scruff and an ill-fitting t-shirt,
speaks with an old lady at a fruit stand.
His messy belly jiggles as he laughs,
while she clutches a pristine old Orthodox Bible in one hand
and a cane in the other.

Parts of Belgrade thrive;
ecru facades of modern, functionalist buildings,
with lighted Latin letter signs,
are erected between larger, more functionalist,
rusty, slowly-imploding Soviet relics, adorned by Cyrillic characters.

Outside the city,
Serbs eschew internet for bright yellow flowers
and familiar beers with lifelong friends and family,
as they wait for modernity to remember them.