On balconies safer than passport pages
bright, hard blossoms light up
bullet worn apartments. Amidst the cracks
from mortar shells-begonias-
Rex Begonias: the commonly
grown, taken for granted,
impossible to kill-
flowers are flourishing.
They work in the dirt.
While no one else in Europe
or America interferes,
like a strong neighbor,
the Rex Begonia is there-
in packs and tribes in Travnic,
Banja Luca, Prijedor,
guarding porch doors with serrated leaves-
preserving each family's story.
The Serbian soldier never imagined
the carbon dioxide source
that ricocheted his hand grenade
off the garden window. Across intermediary
boundary lines, strong-stemmed survivors
testify. The begonia has come a long way.
These partisans deflect all praise
for horticultural acts they've staged
and as it is with taxi drivers,
and cigarette vendors,
everyone in Bosnia adores begonias.
Bright light, no light-it's all the same to them:
budding begonias bursting
through the night.
Causes Susan Rich Supports
Doctors Without Borders; Amnesty International, Oxfam America, Barack Obama , Whit Press