Cement-rendered socialist housing block,
closer in hue to a tombstone
than that pretty peachy pink shade it once was,
back when Yugoslavia existed.
Disfigured by the 90s,
the building’s front wears shrapnel impact,
etched into its smooth corpse-coloured facade,
like cigarette burns on skin.
For three years, ten months, three weeks, three days,
this apartment building witnessed death,
in it, around it, outside it.
Potted plants with lively flowers are industrious on balconies,
working to distract from the wounds of war.
The call to prayer meets with evening church bells,
offering a sacred, soothing polyphony,
that reminds us harmony can be achieved,
while west-facing windows watch over graveyards freckling the hills,
where the innocents of yesteryear remain segregated by faith,
even in eternal sleep.
Author: Miya Yamanouchi
Miya Yamanouchi is a journalist in South Eastern Europe who has reported on post-conflict issues in Bosnia including landmines, mine victims and transitional justice. Her feature writing and news stories can be found in Balkan Insight and The Sarajevo Times.