In a dream, Deda Savo tells me he misses me,
but we’ve never met, not in this life, not even almost.
In the morning, I run to his tombstone candles in hand,
climb uneven ground, weave through the dead people,
find him sitting there with family, weeds all around.
Plopping beside him, I tell him I’ve missed him too,
catch him up on my life although he knows everything
already. Deda looks at me as he always looks at me,
except he has never looked at me, but we look nonetheless.
I tell him about grandma, how she’s still living, how she’s still
alone. He knows that too because he’s still dead, still alone.
I tell him people keep dying, and there’s almost no one left
in the selo. The earth keeps eating his house, a little piece
there, one here, and I’m scared of the day it’s just gone.
I light the candles, and we sit in silence as they burn.
After a few minutes, I thank him for listening, tell him
I’m so happy he didn’t forget me, promise I’ll be back as soon
as I can. I half skip down the hill, across the field, through
the village to my car. Pavle waves to me from his vinograd
as I drive away, windows down, fingers sticky from the wax.
Milica Mijatović is a Serbian poet and translator. Born in Brčko, Bosnia and Hercegovina, she relocated to the United States where she earned a BA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Capital University. She recently received her MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University and is a recipient of a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Poet Lore, Consequence, Santa Clara Review, Barely South Review, and elsewhere.