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Fall 1997, Volume 14.3



Barry Sternlieb

Barry Sternlieb (B.A. Fairleigh Dickinson U) is the author of
Thoreau's Hat (Brooding Heron Press, 1994). His poems have recently appeared in Poetry, Wilderness, Poetry Northwest, The Midwest Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, Quarterly West, Poet & Critic, and The Literary Review.


Godot in Sarajevo

—for Susan Sontag

Like a gardener turning to details
of sun and soil, she describes
the continuum of rhythm
even chaos must confide in.

Staging this play where loss
makes the present look old
cedes a common routine
back to second nature.

While the audience tends
a fragile truce of candlelight
and watches the master tramps,
one Muslim, one Serb, face their fears,

life takes after the days
when walking home,
setting a table, and eating a meal
was the natural order

adding up to earth.
How gracefully she downplays
her own close calls
like a chorus keeping the faith

of that makeshift theater
and those inside who find hope
in its hopeless words
completely worth the risk.


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