Belgrade Station
by Russell Rowland

The train pulls away from its platform,
slow as a difficult bowel movement.
Gypsy beggar women canvass the aisle,
extorting currencies. My new life,
new house with a mistress, lies ahead.

Back where the rails converge in haze,
three sat on the child’s canopied bed:
two estranged parents, reasonable, calm.
We both love you, you aren’t the cause;
you’ll have us both, in different homes.

Hands over her ears, she rolled away
from us, clutching the oft-darned doll,
the one trustworthy face. Our child
had seen us with our masks off, worse
than seeing us naked: sags and hairs.

As we strolled in the Kalemegdan, she
would not hold my hand. I felt bereft,
more bleak than when her mother left.
I tell myself you cannot lose the love
of a child, but am not yet convinced.

My mistress’s breasts are pliant dough.
She sleeps hugging a monkey, stuffed,
lips painted on its bare behind. It has
had her all to itself, so every morning
and night it invites me to kiss its ass.

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