Picking Up Baggage by Milorad Pejić


We are the same as our suitcases. At the baggage
carousel, it seems as though we, a little anxious,
are waiting for our very selves. All eyes are fixed
at the rubber curtain of the tunnel that should begin
coughing out our things. When the conveyor belt
starts moving, looking as if I.D. cards were sliding
on it, I can guess which hand will take which bag.
Mine is not coming out yet.

Our lives are assigned the fates of our suitcases.
The great love story begins with a scuffle in which
the leather tongue on the bag of a young au-pair
from Izmir latches onto the aluminum suitcase
of a bearded rocker from San Francisco. A long
(and tragic) journey through the desert awaits
the German trekker who, impatient, pushes through
to a backpack the size of a dead cow. The sleeve
of a silk shirt is dragging behind a ripped Ikea bag
like a gut. No sight of mine yet.

As if wedded to our loads, at the carousel we stare
at only one point. My bag is an unhappily married
woman who is in no hurry to get to the exit.


This poem was translated from the Bosnian by Omer Hadžiselimović.

MILORAD PEJIĆ was born in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1960. Since 1992 he has lived in Sweden. He has published four poetry books — two of them are also available in English and one in German. He has published poems in several international literary magazines and in several languages.