Mostar

This town is ever young,
or so they say,
stone upon cobbled stone,
living off aluminium and wine,
leather and copper work
and the innocent tourist.

We pass the occasional burned-out property,
pick out way past a Mosque under the limes
where urchins pester us to buy their cherries.
Behind it all lie ancient caravans,
the moving shadows of empires
and the strength of water.

The old bridge, in Ottoman baroque,
was blasted into history
by a few spiteful shells.
Its gleaming replica
arches the same space
above the limestone-green Neretva

where a man fishing
casts after nature’s law, not human folly.
Fear and hatred
still spoor the land,
creviced in those human wounds of war
that never bleed.