Claudia Serea


To my native country

Country, where I grew up in untouched rooms
with furniture covered with crochet,
windows covered with lace curtains,
and the past covered by silence,

Country, that suffers from a disease
of truth dappled with lies,

Country, where the former informants,
the political prison guards,
the ones who beat and spit,
the ones who prosecuted,

who tortured,
who murdered,

are now retired grandpas strolling the parks
enjoying fat pensions,

one of them might even offer to push my daughter on the swing
while I run to the kiosk to get water,

Country, where the judges who doled out years
of political prison to my family
to advance their careers,
now sign memoirs in the central library,

Country in which the old people still hope
to be saved by Americans,
and the young ones hurry to leave it all behind,

Country, where the sparrows still chirp
about the Socialist achievements,
the biggest one being the smashing of spines,

Country, where justice is not only blind,
but also deaf and dumb,
and rides a donkey through the ditches,

Country, where twenty years have passed
and no one was convicted,
no one found guilty,

while witnesses die,
addresses change,
the buried bodies dissolve,
the mass graves disappear,

Country, where it’s no secret
the former secret police are disguised
as prosperous business men and politicians,

Country, where the priests are still priests
after years of filing informants’ reports,

Country of perpetual Halloween,

where I’ve seen my father cry
and the gravediggers laugh,

Wake up.

Wash your face with the blood
of your young.

And show
who you really are.

Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who immigrated to the U.S. in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in Mudfish, Main Street Rag, Oberon, The Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Exquisite Corpse, Fourth River, The Red Wheelbarrow, and in numerous other anthologies and journals. She is the author of two poetry collections: Eternity’s Orthography (Finishing Line Press, 2007) and To Part Is to Die a Little, selected as a contest finalist by Main Street Rag in 2009. She also writes creative nonfiction, published by The Rambler and The Writers’ Workshop Review. Claudia lives in New Jersey and works in New York for a major publishing company.

(author retains copyright)