Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Skopje in Winter (Gerald Siegel)


Apartment complex on Vasil Gorgev (Skopje),
where Gerald and Jennifer Semple Siegel lived during the 2004-2005 academic year.

Skopje in winter
Wears gray.
I leave the cement block of our building
And walk through icy puddles to the iron block
of the konteneri by the corner of the orphanage.

Here the cats of Skopje
Rule. My tossed trash bag trespasses
Into their feral empire as they
Scatter in protest, leaping lightly over
The open lid and fleeing into the shrouding noon twilight.

On a bare patch of mud and flattened grass
Ahead of me, behind the shelter of the orphanage wall,
Four old men, the Roma, huddle around their trash fire,
Smoking, drinking--grizzled shadows against winter mist.
A passing bus showers them in sleet.

On the sidewalk, passersby weave through the maze
Of parked cars, pulling back from the sooty sides.
Overhead, wisps of light contend with low clouds.
Skopje in winter
Wears gray.


(Gerald Siegel, Professor of English at York College of Pennsylvania and American Literature specialist, was a Fulbright Scholar in the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1988-89 and in Macedonia in 2004-2005. He was also awarded a Fulbright to Belgium in Spring 1997.)