Thomas David Lisk

European Dream

Born between wars,

you knew war, mud, cold, hunger, blood.

You wore brown clothing, saw gray trees,

ate spongy potatoes frozen in the ground,

foraged unplanted grainfields skimpily bearded

with a few renegade straws from last year’s crop.

On the dim-lit train no one spoke

as you traveled through bombed, magnificent cities

you had never seen before:

a street-sweeper in an alley, looking for food,

a palace shattered so great paintings

hung innocent to the open sky,

apartment buildings with broken lifts

and granite stairwells swayed

by three-hundred years of foot traffic.

You ate horsemeat and soupbones,

then zebra, rhinoceros and peacock

when the revolution of the hungry

stormed the zoo and slaughtered

the strange foreign animals for food.