• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 12
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A quiet love story lived and forgotten

We are not the type
of couple that travels to Serbia
to permanently affix a memento
to Most Ljubavi—the oldest known bridge of love

That story is one of heartache and betrayal
Ours not so much
At least not yet
And hopefully not ever

It’s 1915 and school teacher Nada
Is newly in love with Relja (a Serbian officer)
He goes away to war
as soldiers are wont to do

She remains faithful, he does not
falling in love with a woman from Corfu
Naja—so legend goes—is so defeated, so forlorn,
she dies of her own broken heart

The villagers (safeguarding their own loves)
each brought a padlock
to the bridge where the couple used to meet
inscribed with their name and that of their sweetheart

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A quiet love story lived and forgotten

Locked to the overpass,
the keys thrown into the depths of the Vrnja─Źka River below.
Imagine being that woman from Corfu,
the other woman, the home-wrecker, the hussy, the minx

Is there redemption for the paramour
Who comforts those on the line of duty?
In the throws of the battle?
A long way from home?

We are not the type
of couple to be separated
by armed conflict
faced with matters of life and death.

Relja (and the woman from Corfu)
were both long gone by the time the Parisian authorities
banned couples from locking
their love to the Pont des Arts.

More than a million locks
the keys deep in the Seine,
had caused the parapet to collapse under the weight
of so many a romantic gesture.

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A quiet love story lived and forgotten

Ours will be a quiet love story lived and forgotten
Lost to the ether like the weekly
bouquet that sits on the windowsill in my
great-grandmother’s crystalline vase

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