Andjela’s Love, Mirza’s Sorrow

“Andjela’s Love, Mirza’s Sorrow”, a poem by Linda Bess, was read on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue Unversity of Fort Wayne (IPFW)  during the local event on March 21 2016, as part of the A Poem For Refugees campaign:

Andjela’s Love, Mirza’s Sorrow


by Linda Bess



What can I do when I ache for you

and you, tired with Spanish sparrow’s sorrow

flit from the dream of Sardinia to Serbia?


Take me to Cradle Island,

to our archipelago

to “the city in which I love you”*

to the nest of an eagle, fertile

with no chance of rain

or, with chance of storms,

with no chance of child, but

the warmth of your skin

and the swell of bulbous song,

Sweet Sweet Smile, Passage

careening its groove

a little like a warbler,

genus Sylvia (not Plath).




Yes, I pushed dear into darling with intent,

like the wisdom of the Atlantic Ocean further than the Adriatic,

like Atlas like you like me,

like Sofia hungers for her name,

like the drama in Greece that demands my papers,

like the Danube carves a new bearing,

sustaining Spanish Sparrow’s Sorrow

no bearing on deceased willows that weep

into the empty of childhood

that if I could, I’d remember like a first kiss should be remembered,

but that island wasn’t a part of an archipelago.


Instead, it manifested a recurring dream:

A broken two-story weathered abandoned house

on an island

in the middle

of a torrential

refugee camp.




Yes, I left dear out and forgot my consonant.


I can’t walk. The children I didn’t bear

I now bear in my atrophied arms.

Where are your arms? What arms do you load

under tattered canvas? Do you paint

my picture, like 2,500 faces daily,

like blood leaving your face not your gland not your eye on me my child no child?


In the city in which I did love, I loved you, darling.

I ache for you. Your touch was my sanctuary.

Our child no child is my penchant.

Who’s Black Butler slayed you whilst

a screeching rendition of The Devil’s Trill

drowned me in a river of strange hands,

shafted, spotted with buzzing florescent gratuity?

Who they were they are I cut them away

because, I love you and because, I am Andjela,

and because, you are my darling, Mirza.




How do you bear the loneliness?

*The City in Which I Love You, poetry book title by Li Young Lee

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