Tomica Bajsić - FIRES CAME AND GO

To brother Vladimir, who left Zagreb as a young boy on an oceanliner for

Rio de Janeiro, and never returned home again…)

Shouts and harsh voices disappear in the silence of the ashes of the burnt trees.
There came the rain; but oblivion was nowhere to be found. In swings, like a pendulum, dull light of pain.
Fires came and went.

No doubt they will return, like the sea which cannot forget its shores. Surrounded by pine trees I was daydreaming in a hammock on my balcony. Somewhere a passing truck echoed hoarsely over the street holes. It sounded like souls were battering from the other side.
I open my eyes.
We have buried my older brother in Rio de Janeiro, in Sao Bento cemetery.
After I pushed the casket through the hole in the wall, the assistant cemented the cracks in a few skilfull moves. I asked him the number of this vault. He did not reply. Another employee approached and outlined the number with white chalk.
21, he said.

21, I said to everybody else behind me and looked at the sharp black hills, the Tijuca rainforest and the Organ Mountains where under the concave sky of the megalopolis lie millions of souls, some with neither name nor number to confirm their existence, and felt a sudden weakness in my knees thinking how some trees, when they burn down, become a shade of the earth, disappear in the shadow. But some, after they burn down, stay with us forever, because the love they had in their lives stays as an ember which cannot ever be extinguished.