The Hunger Wall


The ancient Soviet pipes in my friend’s apartment

Left the water tasting Strongly of Iron

Which came from the kitchen sink.


Žižkov Television Tower stands Alien in the sky

Over the Jewish quarter, And the medieval city.

I peer through grates at the cluttered old cemetery.


I got here on a night bus that ran like a chariot.

They’ll sell you water for a few Crowns, but coffee is free.


I’m not from here. Not even close.

My home is far off. It’s an old house not quite on the coast.

It’s quiet there most days, and nothing draws signs high above the trees.

There is no hunger wall. No old fortification,

Climbing the hill.


When the shock wore off, and I was where I was.

My boot socks had worn through, leaving blisters on my feet.

I can still taste the moldy brie we shared,

the day after I left the Soviet apartment.


Like a broadcast set high into the stratosphere,

Lingers in the air of decades and centuries prior.

There is something misplaced about my adventure to this part of the world.

And it is wearing out the skin and weeping into wool.

Or at least, so says my guidebook of the Charles Bridge.


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