anyway, those days they cracked down
on our people damn hard.
Hasan’s kid was killed right before his eyes
when they brought him to the camp to identify his dad.
but they really took offence with me
because I was a doctor, a bachelor, I had studied abroad.
plus my parents worked in Germany
and I owned three motorcycles: a Yamaha DT175, a Laverda 750S
and that old Zündapp with a passenger sidecar
that I called: “the Kraut!”, but as soon as the bus
stopped at the gates I realised if I passed that guard
post – it was all over for me!
maybe some lucky fellow would stand a chance, but not me!
that’s why I waited to be the last in line, lingering
for a while on the other side of the bus, pretending to tie my shoelace
and when I saw the last man walking through
and those heavy iron gates closing behind him,
I slowly stood up, and with my hands in the pockets
of my leather Avirex pilot jacket,
started walking slowly down the road.
I remember it clearly as if it had happened today.
I even whistled so they wouldn’t figure me out,
that tune by Denis & Denis:
“I’ll be your computer program”!
God knows why that song came to me,
because as local pop goes, I always preferred Atomsko sklonište
and that crippled singer of theirs
because somehow they sounded honest and raw;
so there I was, walking like that for a while
light as a feather, though my feet were as heavy
as a two-ton refrigerator truck!
and then, coming upon the first bend, I dashed
into a cornfield where I spent the next five days.
what did I eat? the bark off trees
munching it like the Partisans did — ha ha — only there weren’t
any trees in sight, let alone a Partisan.
so I stumbled one morning onto the asphalt road
and collapsed. luckily, a bunch of international humanitarians
came by and picked me up and then —
onwards to Zagreb! Via Zagabria! and there
long lines at counters, huge crowds and pissing rain
for a good seven days. as for the bikes — they never found them;
one remained in the garage at my aunt’s and the other two
are still rotting beneath the tarpaulin in the barn.