The Sleep of the Tuba-Player

By Ana Božičević b. 1977 Ana Božičević
The tuba wakes before the man. It’s a content animal:
having no word, for the moment, suits it fine.
 
It looks at him with a dun and smooth
interiority, as a glass of rum might,
 
or a worn number on an apartment building:
his hands, crossed on the chest, rise and fall with breathing.
 
In the dream, he’s ringing the bell now; climbing,
unlocking the door, peering into a glass.
 
The flat is empty. Is the war over yet? Or
was he here before the war? Soon, dropping salt levels
 
will wake him—
 
in tears, with an odd groove in his palm, as though
he’d held on to an instrument for hours.
 
For a good minute, he’ll be nameless, and when
a name does come, it won’t be his:
 
humming in thought the bright last name
he rang on the doorbell, he’ll see, in a certain
 
abrupt sunlight: he’d chosen
her, then—
to be able to call everything something.

Ana Bozicevic, "The Sleep of the Tuba-Player" from Stars of the Night Commute. Copyright © 2009 by Ana Bozicevic.  Reprinted by permission of Tarpaulin Sky Press.

Source: Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2009)

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Poet Ana Božičević b. 1977

POET’S REGION Eastern Europe

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Disappointment & Failure, Relationships, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Life Choices