Charles Marecic is a poet and photographer who lives in Washington, Maine. His poems and photos have appeared in various and sundry publications over the years.
Igor’s dad swears that Maria makes the best wine in the area,
but the German couple (Austrian, so I think) in the village
insist that Maria’s wine is sheep piss (my words),
and that their neighbor makes the only wine
worth drinking in these parts; even though the other day the aforesaid neighbors
set a pile of old tires on fire creating an inferno of black smoke and noxious air
practically converting that nice parochial couple into
evangelical abstainers or born-again Maria-ists.
Tonight, sitting in front of a camp fire
roasting fresh chestnuts
cooking a couple of Istrian sausages and a bunch
of peppers that the woman at the market insisted
I needed (but didn’t really want…just asked her for some garlic),
I’m inclined to agree with the German couple,
although I haven’t yet tried Maria’s wine…
The Wild Rocket of Istria
We spread out across Petar’s fields
searching for wild thyme and ripened quince.
Tomorrow, or the next day, a man would come to plow
so that Petar could sow his winter oats.
Soon the thyme would be lost
buried under clods of red dirt and shoots of green oat grass.
You chose the near field and I wandered toward the far edge of Petar’s
fading dream of Istrian olives and grapes—already tangled
in too much Croatian bureaucracy
for even an Austrian.
You were less interested in it than in those yellow quinces
fallen beyond the reach of Igor’s donkeys and sheep.
As you strayed from the field into the bush,
I, like a bloodhound, a prospector, a pilgrim
paced the red earth
in search of thyme
abandoned to the circumstance of now and misunderstood directions,
until I lost sight of you, then found
a patch of wild Istrian rocket at my feet
that some feral jackass had nearly trampled.
Today I hitchhiked from Krmed to Pula and,
as I reached town,
the gray sky and Sunday quiet
hit me like a blow to the gut
so empty and so vulnerable
almost like wandering gratuitously
through a memory of a happy time long since
The walk back from Bale to Krmed
through the fields
made me sadder
the hole inside growing
and I’m really not sure why
then I thought of those seemingly endless talks
the spontaneous little adventures, coincidental minutiae,
Italian biscuits, maybe coffee, tomorrow’s breakfast plan,
dividing the “housekeeping”,
gathering firewood, wild mushrooms,
discussing whatever comes to mind,
the fox on the path,
fate connecting us for a little while
burning memories into my brain
while dropping little molten balls of
longing onto my heart
and sealing the wound….
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Poetry in this post: © Charles Marecic
Published with the permission of Charles Marecic